By Sucheta Pal
Ambassador and Educator of Zumba® Fitness
Exercise during pregnancy isn’t only safe, it’s recommended, too. As long as you know your body’s limits and what won’t harm your baby, it’s really beneficial. It will help your body snap back to its pre-baby shape, is thought to be good for your baby and may make your labour easier. As a matter of fact, women can actually workout during all three trimesters of their pregnancy.
It’s just that you ought to be more mindful about the exercises and its intensity. This can be easily taken care of with proper and timely assistance of the doctors and instructors.
Discussed below are few pregnancy tips to keep in mind while working out during different trimesters-
If a pregnant female has been working out since a long time then she doesn’t really have to make numerous changes in her workout routine during the first three months. However, it is always wise to verify the same with your gynaecologist and instructor.
If you haven’t been too keen on working out then this can be a great opportunity to start new routine. Since you are starting off fresh the intensity of your exercise is likely to be low which is perfectly fine with your pregnancy.
For example, you can start a routine for 15 minutes and gradually extend it to 25-30 minutes. However, there are few activities which you must avoid such as “hot yoga” or “hot Pilates,” which may cause you to become overheated.
When you enter the second trimester, you are more likely to observe physical changes in your body. In the second trimester your belly starts to grow and you must avoid exercises which require you to lie on your stomach or back. This means that you probably cannot do most of the floor exercises. However, you can do those exercises which require you to lie on your sides. There are some doctors who recommend pregnant females to keep their heart rate below 140 bpm. But, this mainly depends on the doctor and the mother-to-be.
Besides, weight training is perfect during this phase but you must prefer machines rather than free weights.
By the time you enter your third trimester you have a well grown belly which means that you cannot do planks. Your instructor can suggest you exercises based on these changes. For example, at this stage try doing wall push-ups rather than floor push-ups as they are convenient for you. It is important to listen music during the session as it acts like a therapy for you and the baby.
In case, you don’t have the energy for 25-30 minutes workout session then you can go for 10-15 walk which helps you to relax.
Here are some basic exercise guidelines for pregnant women:
· Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
· Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury.
· Consume enough calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy (300 more calories per day than before you were pregnant) as well as your exercise program.
· Drink adequate water before, during, and after your workout.
· After doing floor exercises, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.
· As a general rule, a light to moderate level should allow you to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless as you talk, then you’re probably exercising too strenuously.
· Don’t do exercise where you get too hot. Your body’s temperature is slightly higher when you are pregnant. Intensive exercise may cause your core temperature to rise to an unsafe level for your baby. Limit your exercise to moderate intensity, drink plenty of water, wear lightweight clothing and only exercise in cool, well ventilated places (no spas or saunas).
Pregnancy and birth weaken your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are located in your pelvis and go from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back. When you are pregnant you should make sure that you exercise the muscles of your pelvic floor. By keeping them strong you can help decrease the risk of becoming incontinent.