by Elina Skripochnik, PT, DPT
When many women become pregnant, they are bombarded with tons of information about what they should and shouldn’t do:
“Eat for 2”, “Gain 20-30lbs”,
“Don’t lift heavy weights”,
“Take it easy as much as you can”, etc.
What women rarely hear is “If you haven’t been exercising already, now is the perfect time to start!”
While every woman’s body is different and every woman will have different needs (not everyone has to gain 30 lbs, eating for 2 is an over statement, and you don’t necessarily need to be on bed rest throughout your pregnancy as long as your doctor says you are ok to stay active), the fact that you should be active during your pregnancy rings true for most women.
Exercising during pregnancy is not only recommended, but it is encouraged by most doctors, even if you weren’t active before becoming pregnant. Staying active is not only healthy for you, but it is also healthy for your growing baby. Exercising during pregnancy not only strengthens and prepares your body for all the changes it will go through while your baby is growing, but it will also prepare you for the birth, and help you return to your normal activity level after giving birth and help you keep up with your child.
Exercise helps with:
While exercising and staying active during pregnancy is often encouraged, it is important that you check with your OBGYN first; especially if you have a high risk pregnancy or have not exercised prior to becoming pregnant.
Take caution when exercising if:
If you normally get little to no exercise, walking 30 minutes a day is a good way to start getting active. Walking is usually safe because it does not put too much pressure on your joints and still gives you a full body workout. Once you feel as if you can walk for 30 minutes and maintain a conversation without becoming out of breath, you can start looking into other forms of exercise:
While exercise is good for you, make sure you are not overdoing it, ALWAYS listen to your body. Do what feels good, and if something feels painful, uncomfortable, or does not feel right, then stop what you are doing and re-evaluate.
What to avoid during pregnancy:
Important to remember:
Don’t be afraid to start exercising if your doctor says that it is ok for you to do so. Most likely, you will find that you feel better, stronger, and have more energy after exercising. Being pregnant should not be a deterrent from becoming active; it should help push you to be the best and strongest woman you can be for not only yourself, but your baby as well.
- Elina Skripochnik PT, DPT, CSCS