Being pregnant might feel like enough of a workout on its own, but studies show that maintaining a pregnant fitness routine can have many health benefits, not just for you but for baby, too.
If you’re worried about giving up exercise for nine months, there’s no need.
Just as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend 30 minutes of exercise per day, the same recommendation goes for pregnant women.
More and more fitness studios are offering pregnant fitness classes, focused on expecting mothers. These classes are designed to provide a safe, nurturing environment and offer modifications and targeted workouts. If fitness classes aren’t your thing, most likely you can still continue doing what you love, whether that’s running, swimming, cycling, etc. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and pay attention to signals. Fatigue, dizziness, feeling weak, and shortness of breath can all indicate that you’re pushing your body too hard. During these moments, it’s ok to scale back, take a deep breath, and work your body within its limits.
In the mid-1980’s, physicians recommended that women lower their cardiac threshold to 140 beats per minute. This cautious warning is no longer credible. In fact, researchers later discovered that the recommendation was not based on any sort of scientific evidence. That being said, physicians don’t recommend trying to push yourself when you’re pregnant. Trying to max out your heart rate while carrying another heart inside of you is a recipe for disaster, and it’s not necessary during this stage of your life. Again, listen to your body and make sure you’re paying attention to its signals.
Although any type of exercise will have its health benefits, pregnant fitness routines should focus on the deep core muscles. As your baby grows, your abdominal muscles have to separate to make room in your body. Strengthening these deeper core muscles throughout your pregnancy will create a supportive environment for your baby. These exercises will also help prepare your back and other stabilizing muscles for taking care of baby once he or she arrives.
If cardio is still your thing, try your best to minimize impact. This might mean turning it down a notch from a run to a light jog. Be careful of adding extra strain and impact on your knees. After all, you are gaining and carrying around extra weight and that can definitely make high-impact exercises harder on your joints.
At the end of the day, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be the most important steps you take for you and your growing baby. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a “zen” lifestyle will make the next nine months a breeze!