Pregnancy brings with it a lot of questions, but rest assured, you’re not alone in asking many of them! We’ve gathered expert answers to some of your most common questions around fitness and pregnancy. Read on for more information.
Looking for a safe way to workout during all stages of pregnancy? Check out Aaptiv’s maternity program.
1. How do I know the workouts are safe for me? How do I start the program? Is exercise safe during pregnancy?
It’s important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or another member of your health care team before starting any new exercise program. In most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy. You will usually find it is even recommended. Typically, if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your healthcare provider will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.
2. Will I need equipment?
Most of the cardio classes in the Aaptiv pregnancy program are done on a treadmill, however, if you do not have access to a treadmill you can always take those classes outdoors, just modify the workout.
3. What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Here are just a few:
- Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
- May help prevent, or treat, gestational diabetes
- Potential increase your energy levels
- May boost your mood
- Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
- Helps you sleep better
- Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your labor, delivery, and post-baby healing.
4. What changes occur in the body during pregnancy that can affect my exercise routine?
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, from hormonal and emotional to downright physical. The below are a few things that will change or feel different when engaging in physical activity while pregnant.
- Joints—The hormone relaxin which is made during pregnancy causes the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile putting them at increased risk of injury. Be cautious or avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase the stress on the joints.
- Balance—During pregnancy, the extra weight in the front of your body shifts your center of gravity. This places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and low back. Because you are less stable and more likely to lose your balance, you are at greater risk of falling.
- Breathing—When you exercise, oxygen and blood flow are directed to your muscles and away from other areas of your body. While you are pregnant, your need for oxygen increases. As your belly grows, you may become short of breath more easily because of increased pressure of the uterus on the diaphragm (a muscle that aids in breathing). These changes may affect your ability to do strenuous exercise, and you may need to modify or regress an exercise in order to breathe properly.
5. What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:
- Stay hydrated
- Wearing supportive clothing, such as a supportive bra and a belly support may reduce discomfort
- Avoid standing still as being motionless for extended periods can cause blood to pool in legs and feet.
- Avoid laying on your back, as the uterus presses on the large vein that returns blood to your heart.
6. Are there any specific situations that might arise during pregnancy during which you should not workout at all?
Yes, you should absolutely NOT exercise during pregnancy if you experience or have been diagnosed with any of the following:
- Hemodynamically significant heart disease
- Restrictive lung disease
- Incompetent cervix
- Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
- Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
- Premature labor during the current pregnancy
- Ruptured membranes
If you’re experiencing or have been diagnosed with the following conditions, you should get clearance from your doctor before attempting to exercise:
- Severe anemia
- Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
- Chronic bronchitis
- Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
- Extreme morbid obesity
- Extreme underweight (BMI<12)
- History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
- Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
- Poorly controlled hypertension
- Orthopedic limitations
- Poorly controlled seizure disorder
- Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
- Heavy smoker
- Third trimester breech presentation
- Multiple pregnancy (>twins)
- Elevated pulse or blood pressure persisting after exercise
- Fatigue, palpitations, chest pain
- Insufficient weight gain (<1.0kg/month during last two trimesters)
7. Are there any situations that might arise during pregnancy that would require me to stop working out?
Yes, if any of the following conditions arise during your pregnancy you should stop exercising immediately and speak to your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Dyspnea prior to exertion
- Dizziness or faintness
- Headache or visual disturbance
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Muscle weakness
- Swelling of ankles, hands, or face
- Swelling, pain, and redness in the calf of one leg
- Preterm labor, persistent contractions (> 6-8/h)
- Decreased fetal movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage