Exercising during pregnancy has a lot of benefits for your labor and childbirth, but you need to follow a specific gym training program that suits your current status.
Here are 13 rules to keep you and your baby safe during exercise:
1. Check with your healthcare provider first
If you’re a regular gym visitor, and your pregnancy is normal, it’s more likely that you will continue exercising as before with some modifications, however in some cases it’s not okay to workout during pregnancy, so you need to contact your doctor first.
2. Take in extra calories
Heading to the gym during pregnancy burns calories, so make sure to eat well to help strengthen your body, If your body mass index (BMI) is in a healthy range (between 18.5 and 24.9), you’ll need to eat 300 or so more calories a day than before you were pregnant – and maybe more than that if you’re exercising.
3. Steer clear of dangerous sports
Stay away from sports that may throw you off balance such as horseback riding, downhill skiing, or mountain biking. Cycling may be safe if you are comfortable on the bike, but it’s probably best to stick to stationary or recumbent bikes later in pregnancy.
4. Wear the right clothes
Make sure to wear loose comfortable clothes while exercising in the gym, and choose the right shoes that fit your feet and give you good support.
5. Warm up
You should prepare your body for working out before you start your training program, so you don’t get your muscles strained.
6. Drink plenty of water
Make sure to take a bottle of water with you in the gym. Drink water before, during and after your workout so you don’t get dehydrated as it might raise your body’s temperature and this can be dangerous for your baby. The best practice is to drink one cup (8 ounces) before you exercise, one cup for every 20 minutes of exercise, and one cup after you finish your workout, however, in hot or humid weather, you will need more.
7. Don’t lie flat on your back
Try to avoid lying flat on your back after the first trimester. This position puts pressure on the vena cava vein, which reduces blood to your heart and may diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus, making you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated.
Putting a pillow under your right hip or buttock will allow you to be almost supine without compressing the vena cava.
8. Keep moving
Standing in one place for long periods, such as lifting weights or doing yoga poses can decrease blood flow to the uterus, which makes you feel dizzy. Keep moving by switching positions or walking in place.
9. Don’t overdo it
Make sure not to exercise until you get exhausted. Slow down if you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. In general, the best guideline is to listen to your body. When something hurts, that means something’s wrong, so stop. You should feel like you’re working your body, not punishing it.
10. Don’t get overheated
Do not get too hot. Raising your core temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or more could harm your baby.
Pregnancy causes increased blood flow and higher metabolic rate, which means you’ll feel warmer than usual when you exercise. However, you may get overheated much faster than you normally would, even before your belly is big.
Sweating a lot is a sign of overheating also feeling uncomfortably warm, nauseated, dizzy, or short of breath. To cool off quickly, stop exercising, take off layers of clothes, and change your environment. Go to air conditioning areas or take a cool shower. Hydrating is key, so make sure to drink lots of water.
11. Get up from the floor slowly
Getting up too quickly can make you feel dizzy and may cause you to fall, because when you’re pregnant your center of gravity changes, so take care.
12. Cool down
At the end of your training do some pregnancy-friendly stretching for 5 or 10 minutes. This will allow your heart rate to get back to normal and help to prevent sore muscles.
13. Make it a habit
Make a commitment to work regular exercise into your schedule. Following a gym training program is easier on your body than long periods of interrupted workouts. As long as you have your healthcare provider, feel free to go-ahead.