PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND PREGNANCY
There was a time when pregnant women were encouraged to avoid physical activity. Fortunately, attitudes about pregnancy have changed and medical experts now recommend regular physical activity as part of a healthy pregnancy.
- improve your mood and self-image
- help ensure appropriate weight gain
- help your relax and reduce stress
- promote better sleep
- increase your muscle tone, strength and endurance
- help build your stamina for labor and delivery
- speed up your recovery after labor and delivery
- help increase your energy levels
If you’ve been inactive, start with mild activities like walking and swimming. Even five minutes a day will help. Gradually increase the time you’re active to 30 minutes a session. Before starting a new exercise program, you should talk to your doctor.
If you’re already active, think about how you can modify or replace weight-bearing activities such as running, high-impact aerobics, hiking and tennis as your pregnancy progresses.
You should be able to carry on a normal conversation during physical activities. If you’re feeling more tired than normal, take it easy and rest for a day.
Drink lots of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid overheating and dehydration. You should also refrain from being active outdoors on overly hot or humid days.
Physical activity can make you feel better and be beneficial for both you and your developing baby. The decision to be active during pregnancy may be the first step toward a long-lasting healthy way of life for you and your family. Remember to speak with your doctor before you begin and start slowly.
If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, continue your program and make changes as you need to. Talk to your doctor about your current routine to see if and when you may need to make any adjustments. Most important, listen to your body as it changes from one month to the next and only do what feels comfortable for you. After your fourth month of pregnancy, experts suggest modifying exercises that require lying on your back so they performed on your side, or while you are standing or sitting.
If you are really tired and you feel like stopping, then it’s time to stop. If you still feel tired, give yourself a break for at last a day. Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- persistent contractions
- bleeding from the vagina
- increasing back pain, pubic pain, or pain in the abdomen
- sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face
- dizziness or shortness of breath
- excessive fatigue
- difficulty walking
- changes in usual fetal movement
- swelling pain, and redness in the calf of one leg