In the last couple of months, I have had a lot of worrying inquiries from mothers to be, that are members of DBF that have received million conflicting advise on exercise and pregnancy. In general they are excited and scared at the same time about the expected and unexpected. This article is to help them deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly. While Some have received fabulous advise, but the ridiculous one is them being told to put their personal interests and well being on the back burner as they have to prioritise the new being in them. False.
False in the sense that self care is self love. This includes making time to eat well, exercise and proper stress management. From the minute the seed of life is planted inside you, everything you do affects the baby. Bad food, lack of exercise, stress all this things have a negative effect on the baby immediately, and after they are born.
Types and intensity of exercise will be purely dependent of your level of physical fitness and how active you were prior to that. There is no Olympics for the Pregnant women, so start slow if it’s your first time, and if you are not sure consult any of dream fitness exercise fundi’s or any trainer near you.
Most of the pregnancy books out there seem to emphasise the “negatives” you may experience in pregnancy. They advise minimal exercise and feature line drawings of pregnant women who, in my opinion, look absolutely miserable. Meanwhile, I have met many physically active women who say that pregnancy has caused them to decrease their exercise regimen or stop altogether. They may explain the decision by siting their own concern or those of their partners and relatives or lack of encouragement from a doctor.
This news is very discouraging to me, because I have found that remaining active during pregnancy brings many benefits to both mom and baby. There is misinformation out there that needs to be addressed, and that is exactly what I hope to do in this post.
Please share this post with everyone you know who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.
Myth or Fact: Women should not try any new exercise regimen once pregnant.
MYTH: Although obstetricians typically recommend that pregnant women don’t add new exercises to their regimen, there isn’t any evidence to show such advice is warranted. The key to any good exercise program is a variety of activities, with cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility components. Keep doing what you love ), but try to introduce one additional component—like using the elliptical machine or swimming—in case you need another option later on in pregnancy. There really isn’t a need to abruptly increase your amount of activity once pregnant. You can start a strength training program focused on developing your upper body and modify it as your pregnancy advances. If you don’t have any experience with strength training, start out with light weights and seek a trainer who specialises in prenatal exercise.
Without question, flexibility should be part of everyone’s training program, yet it’s rarely included. Now is the time. For your flexibility training, do yoga or Pilates especially prenatal yoga. You don’t have to have any experience with yoga before pregnancy to start. Find a prenatal class, or look for yoga classes that are recommended for pregnant women. An introductory yoga class taught by an instructor certified in prenatal yoga would likely be just fine when prenatal classes aren’t available. Be sure to tell the instructor you are pregnant, even if it seems obvious. Soon enough, you will learn the modifications, and you’ll know what feels good and doesn’t on your growing belly. As the pregnancy progresses, the prenatal classes become even more beneficial as you practice breathing, vocal toning, and squats—lots of squats.
Myth or Fact: The shortness of breath women experience during pregnancy is a sign that they shouldn’t exercise.
MYTH: The shortness of breath that women experience in pregnancy is actually due to elevated levels of the hormone progesterone, which stimulates breathing and improves the transfer of gasses between mom and baby. Women “feel” short of breath, but their lung capacity remains normal. In fact, exercise helps to build a larger and more vascularized placenta (the fetal “lung”), which helps protect the baby from oxygen deprivation and allows more nutrients to get to the baby.
Myth or Fact: Women should exercise right up until labor.
FACT: Some of the best outcomes associated with exercise during pregnancy occur when activity continues as late into the pregnancy as possible. Documented benefits include: reduced risk of premature labor and very small birth weights; substantially decreased need for operative intervention and pain management during labor; shorter labor, and less weight gain during pregnancy. Of course, any medical restriction of exercise takes priority. However, if you aren’t restricted, there is no reason to cut back. You may need to adjust the intensity or duration or take a rest day if you are really not feeling it. But don’t quit.
Myth or Fact: Women should not do vigorous exercise, because the risk of overheating puts the baby at risk.
MYTH: Pregnancy actually reduces the risk of the mother’s body temperature getting high enough to bother the baby, because she has an increased ability to get rid of excess heat (through increased blood volume and sweating at lower temperatures) or store it (as mom gains weight, the tissue needs to be kept warm). These combined forces allow pregnant women who are physically active to better manage heat stress than non-exercisers. Of course, don’t run outside at the hottest, most humid time of day. The key is to ensure adequate air flow and ambient temperature. If exercising indoors, make sure there is good ventilation with air conditioning, fans, or open windows that allow for cooler temperatures and circulation. Don’t forget to hydrate every few minutes during all exercise.
Myth or Fact: Women who exercise throughout pregnancy may improve the short- and long-term health of their baby.
FACT: In the short term, studies show the babies of exercising moms tolerate the stresses of labor and delivery better than babies of non-exercising . At five years of age, there was no evidence that vigorous exercise throughout pregnancy caused any harm in the baby’s physical or mental development. Plus, the 5-year-old children of exercising moms tended to weigh less than the children of women who did not exercise during pregnancy.
What Now? No matter where you are in your pregnancy, it’s a good time to check in with yourself to make sure you are at least moderately active—around 30 minutes three times a week. If you are getting conflicting advise from anyone but your prenatal care provider, make sure they understand the myths and facts on the subject and trust yourself. Seek the assistance from qualified experts in prenatal care, such as your doctor, midwife, doula, trainer, yoga teacher, and sports coach. Have fun, and remember: Everything you do for you, you’re doing for baby, too.
A grand adventure is about to begin.
– Winnie the Pooh