Whether you have always had an exercise routine or haven’t exercised in years, it’s never too late to start and during pregnancy is the perfect time. You can start slow if you aren’t used to lots of activity; but if you’re used to exercising you can adjust it now to be safe for you and your baby. There used to be some controversy over this subject, but health professionals and pregnant women are seeing how much exercising while pregnant is beneficial for mother and baby.
What is important is to be mindful of the type of exercise you are doing and at what level. If at any point you feel discomfort, pain or are winded, slow down or stop and return to a level that is not so challenging. Over exertion is dangerous especially during pregnancy. Also, make sure you are in a comfortable environment and that you are not exercising in hot conditions.
I personally wouldn’t suggest anything high impact like HIIT ( High Intensity Interval Training) or Crossfit. However, there are pregnant women out there that engage in high impact exercises during pregnancy.
These women usually were already highly active. Still, I personally would suggest against it. Even jogging is not recommended, as this can cause undue stress on the baby and internal organs.
*If you have a medical condition that keeps you from exercising speak with your Dr about if there are other options. Sometimes a walk, light stretches, and/or weight bearing exercises can be beneficial and don’t require a lot of movement.*
So can I eat whatever I want since I will be staying active?
Once you begin an exercise regimen it is very important that you begin or continue to make proper food choices. Eating the right foods that provide good nutrients and vitamins will make exercise more effective. If you are not feeding your body properly, it will not have the fuel it needs. Not to mention, during pregnancy it is so important that you take into account everything that you ingest as it directly affects your growing baby.
Are there benefits if I exercise while I am pregnant?
Yes, there are many amazing benefits if you exercise while pregnant. Here are a few benefits for women who exercise at or above 50% of their preconception exercise level:
* Can help with discomfort in the 3rd trimester
* Decreased chance of cesarean sections
* Shorter labor and delivery times
* Can lower the level of fetal stress during the birth process,
* Improves your postpartum mood
* Helps with immune function and blood pressure
* Promotes good circulation
* Helps prevent flabby tummy and varicose veins
* Help with constipation
Are there specific exercises that are helpful with pregnancy?
Yes, in fact there are! Kegel and Tailor exercises. These exercises have proven to be very helpful for many women over the years. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can help prepare you for delivery. You can do them anywhere while sitting, standing or reclined. This may sound strange if you have never heard of it, but basically you squeeze and tense the muscles in your pelvic area as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 5 seconds then release, repeat this 5 times throughout the day 10 times in a row. This exercise contracts the muscles of the pelvic floor and helps strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels. As best you can, try not to move your leg, buttocks, or abdominal muscles.
Kegel exercises are not only recommended during pregnancy but also during the postpartum period as they promote healing of perineal tissues, make sure the strength of the pelvic floor muscles return to their previous healthy state and help increase urinary control.
Different health professionals recommend more or less repetitions; I would recommend starting with 5 sets which would include 10 contractions and count 5 slow seconds per contraction. As always consult your Dr. about the frequency they suggest.
Tailor exercises strengthen the thigh, hip, and pelvic muscles. It can also relieve lower back pain.
To perform a Tailor Sit, you will sit with your knees bent and ankles crossed. While keeping your back straight lean slightly forward. Throughout the day use this position as much as possible.
The Tailor Press is similar to the Tailor sit as you will sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet together. Take hold of your ankles and pull your feet gently towards the body. Put your hands under your knees and inhale. As you press your knees down towards your hands create counter – pressure by pressing your hands up against your knees. Hold for 5 seconds.
You can do these exercises together or as time allows, as always in pregnancy make sure your movements are gentle, and if anything causes uncomfortable pressure or you experience pain, do not proceed.
Internal exercise is just as important, breathing exercises, meditations, and visualizations are also helpful.
In whatever activity you do make sure it is gentle and you feel good about the activity. Avoid anything that will make contact with your belly. Now is not the time stomach for sit ups, crunches or contact sports. Gentle Swimming, rowing, cycling, walking, low intensity aerobics, pre and post-natal yoga are all great activities during pregnancy.
Staying Healthy with Nutrition - Elson Haas
Natural baby healthy child – Murray Clarke ND
Sarah Steward -Holistic Nutrition Instructor House of Hearts Inc.
***Help.*Disclaimer* I am a holistic nutritionist and received my education and training from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I am a member of the national association of nutrition professionals and the Weston A. Price Foundation. I am not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose or treat diseases and disorders. I do not prescribe any medicine. The information and materials I share is not intended to be a medical diagnosis or treatment. My job is to equip individuals with the tools they need to have a healthier lifestyle and provide recommendations from a holistic perspective. ***