The exercise regime
If there are no medical or obstetrical complications, 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women.
Most women who were active can maintain their moderate-level fitness regime throughout their pregnancy. Others who were not exercising regularly before expecting a child should hardly be discouraged. Start gradually and build up strength for the health benefits that exercise brings.
So what kind of exercises can you partake in? Well, it really depends on your interests. Some women enjoy dancing, water aerobics or yoga. If you don’t enjoy any of these, the simplest of exercises, like walking, will also work. As a low-intensity workout that you can do at your own time and pace, walking is what many expecting mothers opt for. But like doctors would advise, trying a combination of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises, is great for your overall health. As always, consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise regime.
Staying fit while pregnant – the precautions
Remember that with any exercise during pregnancy, always stop if you feel any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Vaginal bleeding
- Dyspnea prior to exertion
- Preterm labour
- Decreased foetal movement
- Vaginal bleeding
- Amniotic fluid leakage
It is unhealthy for your fetus’s development if you are overexerting yourself. When your body says “Stop,” listen and take heed. Ensure that your heart rate does not go over 130-140 beats per minute, and as a general rule of thumb, if you cannot comfortably carry out a conversation, you should be slowing down. You are not superwoman —but you can surely be a super mom!
Don’t forget your extra calories
Pregnant women generally require an additional 300 calories a day. Women who exercise more require more nutrition. Additional caloric requirement during pregnancy is, thus, highly variable. However, just as exercising before pregnancy, eat a high-carbohydrate snack prior to exercise. Some good examples are bagels, juice, nuts or fruit. Also remember to warm up before every exercise. Stretching is always important as it prepares your joints and muscles for exercise and prevents strains and injuries. (Make sure you stretch after your exercise to help prevent any soreness.) Also, always remember to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
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