For some women, the thought of exercise during pregnancy is as appealing as a root canal without novocaine. In their minds, they have a nine-month pass to keep up with their gym routine. The first three months, they are battling morning sickness and exhaustion. The next three months, they are beginning to show. The last three months are so uncomfortable that walking ten feet to the bathroom is pure torture, so there is no way they will be able to walk on a treadmill for ten minutes.
On the other side of the coin, some women do not let something as little as creating a life stand in their way of exercise. These are the women we might see teaching a class at the gym, or speed walking throughout our neighborhood with their protruding bellies.
Most of us, however, fall somewhere in the middle, and that is just how their doctors like it. Exercise is highly recommended when pregnant. Not only does it help control weight gain, but some women swear it helps with delivery also. There are some things to keep in mind to protect yourself and your growing little one.
For starters, you need to keep an eye on your heart rate as you are working out. Letting your heart rate rise too high could be dangerous to your little one, especially in your first trimester. You want to maintain a steady heart rate and should do the talk test throughout your workout to make sure you are at a safe level. The talk test is when you talk during your workout. If you are having a hard time talking and wind up huffy and puffing more than getting out actual words, then you are working too hard and need to take it down. Most doctors recommend that you work at a pace where talking is challenging but still doable.
Pregnancy is not the time to try out new exercise routines. This means that you should not try the new spinning class that your gym offers. Stick with the routine you have already been doing and that your body is used to. You may find that you have to make some modifications to some of your exercises as your pregnancy progresses. If you are a runner, a modified low impact jog throughout your first trimester is fine but once you enter your second trimester and begin to show, your jog has to be brought down to a walk. For those of you who love sit-ups, crunches, and floor pushups, you can continue to do these up until you hit about 14 weeks or so. After that period, no floor exercises are recommended.
If you do not have any exercise routine in place before you got pregnant, this still does not give you a free pass. Almost every doctor will tell you that walking is a great exercise for any pregnant woman who is not at high risk. Walking at least thirty minutes, three times a week is a safe way for a pregnant woman to stay active.
Walking is something you can do throughout all three trimesters though you might find yourself moving at a slower pace by your third trimester. Another great plus to walking, especially as you approach your due date, is that walking can bring on labor. Many doctors will advise their patients to walk, walk and walk some more in the weeks leading up to their due dates to get things rolling. Some women who have walked throughout their entire pregnancy have an easier delivery and recovery period. The days of pregnant women kicking their feet up and not moving from the couch for nine months are days of the past. While strenuous exercise is a no pregnancy is no longer a good excuse to stop moving.