Working out during pregnancy is safe and how?

Manvit Kohli
Manvit Kohli

 | 1 minute to read
Exercise Science

Working out during pregnancy is safe and how?

Before you begin reading this article here is a disclaimer: 1. All pregnancies are different from each other. 2. I am not a doctor or a health practitioner hence before incorporating any of the following advices please discuss in detail with your gynaecologist/pelvic floor physiotherapist. 3. Before starting off any exercise routine you must have a clearance from your gynaecologist. 4. Throughout exercises make sure you are well supervised. And now… let’s begin 😁 "Delivery is an athletic feat" Don't change your zip code to the couch just yet Got a bun in the oven but don't want to give up the body you have been sculpting for years? Yeah I mirror your thoughts woman! As your body changes during pregnancy, staying fit and keeping baby safe are all about small but crucial adjustments. Into your first trimester, second or third, it is intensity that matters but there is no reason to be glued to the couch and eat all that unhealthy stuff. In the current locked down scenario this is not even the remotest possibility for me tbh, sweeping, mopping ;the Indian way that’s how I like to roll and boy oh boy it challenges your mobility in so many ways when you squat, stretch, bend sideways etall! We'll begin with the number one truth, because it gets muddled so often: You can carry on almost any activity you did before you conceived, as long as you don't ramp up intensity or frequency beyond what you're used to. Ok read this again…activities that YOU DID BEFORE YOU CONCEIVED is the key word you will underline here. You see the women in the village doing all their stuff manually and throughout their pregnancies and hence have more normal than c-section deliveries. There is no magic pill to this. It’s only because of their extensive continuous active lives that they put on less fat than us, that they are more mobile than us. Given that you have a clearance from your gynaecologist. Well not to forget all pregnancies are different and some might face more difficulties than others. Respecting that very fact ensure you have a clearance from your gynaecologist before you inculcate workouts/activities. That simply means runners can keep logging those miles in but shouldn't begin training for a marathon (over stress). Likewise, if you're a CrossFitter or a Gym goer like me, go ahead with your heavy lifting. But if you haven't touched a barbell in years? Now's not the time to start being a lifter. We follow progressive overload everywhere ladies, just like how progressively your baby grows and makes your belly a beautiful bump. The biggest change during these months will be less about a growing baby bump and more about your energy level. Fatigue and morning sickness can stand in the way of all intentions of going to the gym. And it’s ok to pause and restart at times, listen to your body. Give yourself a break on the days when just standing up or climbing stairs feels like hard work, but on the others, force yourself to do something for 10 minutes. Getting your blood pumping actually boosts your energy and can, for some, help fight nausea. Squats (wall squats, chair squats, assisted squats) Just how difficult is it to sit down and stand back up? Embrace the squat: a crucial move to help you bounce from down to up with (some) ease, both now and when you're toting an infant. Squats increase circulation, and they engage your core and pelvic-floor muscles, which you want to keep intact for push day. CoreWorkout: Your ab workouts may be more limited by the positions you can take, but that doesn't mean you're out of options. Setting up in the good old plank position is an ideal way to activate your core (and pretty much every major muscle group) and perfect for now, when you're strong and small enough to lift your body weight. This variation adds movement in your hips to help maintain flexibility before you start to get stiffer in a couple of months. Aim for 2 sets of 30 seconds each to start with and slowly build it up, four days a week. You may be so over being pregnant, but staying active—through yoga, power walks, jogging (if since before conceiving you're a runner) or even bellydancing, will help keep you and baby as healthy as can be. A leaner infancy and controlled fat gain during pregnancy could possibly set your child up for a lower risk for obesity later in life. Note: We are not saying to put your baby on a diet! And if you're feeling huge—blame it on reduced circulation—exercise can help get things flowing so you feel less puffy. Your body changes during pregnancy and does that affect workouts? How? Your body does go through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account: •​Joints—The relaxin hormones made during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and flexible and at risk of injury. Avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase your risk of being hurt. That means? Always perform supported movements. Scale down your movements and brace your core well. •​Body Balance—The extra weight in the front of your body as that of your bump shifts your center of gravity. Women arch their back and walk with difficulty as and when this bump gets bigger from the 6th and 7th month onwards This places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and lower back. Because you are less stable and more likely to lose your balance, you are at greater risk of falling. Again- seated and supported movements are of key nature during this phase. •​Breathing—While 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 for you and your bub. This may affect your ability to do strenuous exercise, especially if you are overweight or obese. You might fall short of breath and find yourself tired often. Rest more. Its ok to have a longer rest interval between sets. Remember- never hold your breath for long. And do not perform vasalva maneuver while performing compounds. Precautions to be taken: There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise: •​Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and urinating only small amounts or having urine that is dark in colour or has a stench. •​Wear a sports bra that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts. Now this is important. As your breasts are any which ways getting heavier by the day and preparing you for nursing. A good support is important to avoid discomfort, pain in already sore breast and sure you don’t want them to sag. Later in pregnancy, a belly support belt may reduce discomfort while walking or running. You will easily get these online or at a local maternity hospital. •​Avoid working out in hot climatic conditions, turn on the AC! Especially in the first trimester. Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothing, and exercise in a temperature-controlled room. Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid. •​Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. These positions may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time. When you get out of bed too, turn to your side, hang your feet out first and then rise. When performing exercise, avoid lying flat on your back. What are warning signs that you should stop exercising? Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, watch for the following warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of them, stop and call your gyno : •​Bleeding from the vagina •​Feeling dizzy or faint •​Shortness of breath before starting exercise •​Chest pain •​Headache •​Muscle weakness •​Calf pain or swelling •​Regular, painful contractions of the uterus •​Fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina Summarized as follows: Into your first trimester, second or third, it is intensity that matters but there is no reason to be glued to the couch and eat all that unhealthy stuff. You can carry on almost any activity you did before you conceived, as long as you don't ramp up intensity or frequency beyond what you're used to. Runners please run, weightlifters please lift, yogis please do your yoga! Why? Because you're less likely to cry, "Oh, my aching back." You have more energy. On days when lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, even a 10-minute walk can revive you. Give yourself a break on the days when just standing up or climbing stairs feels like hard work, but on the others, force yourself to do something for 10 minutes. You're more likely to avoid a forceps delivery, C-section or other intervention. You'll get positive attention. Everyone smiles when they see a pregnant woman on a power walk. No one is more popular at the gym than the pregnant woman on the biceps machine! You maybe less prone to morning sickness and leg swelling You will bounce back faster after your delivery. Activities For Moms-To-Be to begin with: Walking: Strengthens heart/lungs, increases stamina. Water Exercise: Strengthens heart/lungs; reduces strain on joints. Prenatal Pilates: Strengthens entire body, especially core muscles. Weight Training: Seated supported movements with free weights or machines, squats, core training. Increases muscle mass and strength. Prenatal Yoga: Increases strength, stamina and relaxation. References when I say it’s ok to work out during pregnancy: https://m.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Physical-Activity-and-Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period https://m.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy

Global Community background