Fitness During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

 

Fitness During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Proper exercise during pregnancy keeps you fit, reduces back pain, lowers the risk of diabetes, and even makes labor easier. But what is important to keep in mind? What exercises should you avoid? What muscle groups are particularly important? How long can you do sports during pregnancy?

 

Can You Exercise During Pregnancy?

Yes! And even better: it’s even recommended!

Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy or your doctor has concerns, exercise during pregnancy is recommended. Sport and exercise increase the feeling of well-being, help reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes, reduce back pain and water retention typical of pregnancy, reduce stress, and promote the production of endorphins.

 

What Exercises are not Recommended for Pregnancy?

First things first: pregnancy is not the time to set new records. So don’t go overboard with your training during pregnancy, but train at a slightly more adapted level. In any case, it is recommended to avoid sports and forms of movement that involve strong twisting and jumping movements.

Of course, you should also avoid exercises in the prone position, since at a certain point the abdominal growth of the gestational evolution will get in the way.

You should also refrain from dynamic abdominal muscle training during your pregnancy workout no later than the second trimester. Therefore, abdominal exercises should be avoided.

In the third trimester, you should avoid exercises that involve lying on your back for long periods. Your baby’s weight can push down on the inferior vena cava and blood can no longer flow freely back to the heart. Then you can get dizzy, in addition to low blood pressure and, in the worst case, you run the risk of fainting.

Fortunately, there are enough great exercises to make your pregnancy workout engaging and fun.

 

Fitness During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Better physical condition and greater psychological balance are two of the positive effects that you can achieve with moderate strength training adapted to your physical conditions. Especially if you’ve already exercised regularly with weights before pregnancy, you don’t have to stop.

Research has shown that light to moderate weight training with free weights or machines has no negative effects on you or your baby. Studies even showed that strength training concerning stretching leads to an improvement in strength and mobility, making it easier for you to cope with increased body weight and a shift in the center of gravity. It also promotes strengthening of the back muscles.

 

Cross-fit During Pregnancy

If you still want to continue doing Crossfit, you should modify the training and adapt it to your pregnancy so that you train in the moderate range all the time. Jumping items should be avoided especially in early pregnancy. You must pay special attention to breathing techniques during each exercise.

 

Considerations for Strength Training During Pregnancy

  • Don’t train beyond your limits and avoid training with the highest weights possible.
  •  Train with lighter weights, often your body weight is sufficient, but with more reps.
  •  Don’t expect an increase in performance during pregnancy: It’s all about maintaining existing strength and fitness.
  •  From week 20 of pregnancy, avoid isolated basic exercises, such as sit-ups, instead, focus on arms and legs.
  •  Avoid quick and jerky movements that put pressure on the pelvic floor. Additionally, hormonally flexible ligaments mean that the joints are no longer as stable and injuries can occur more easily.
  •  Make sure you maintain an upright posture when doing exercises while standing or sitting.

 

What Training is Ideal During Pregnancy?

It depends on the week of pregnancy you are currently in.

 First Trimester

In the first trimester of pregnancy, you can do almost all the exercises that you did before pregnancy. Make sure to reduce the intensity or frequency of your workouts during pregnancy and adapt them to the circumstances.

You may also be a little more tired than usual, especially in early pregnancy. It has to do with hormonal changes in your body. Then give your body breaks and don’t overwork.

You shouldn’t try a first-trimester workout that you’ve never done before. Why? In early pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin. And that increases the elasticity of the ligaments and tendons. Also, as the pregnancy progresses, the lower vertebrae are separated so that the pelvis widens for delivery.

Therefore, there is an increased risk of injury during this process. Also, the blood volume increases by about 2 liters and causes an increase in the pulse. Your heart is busy enough already, so don’t do interval training or anything like that!

 Second Trimester

In the second trimester of pregnancy, the initial symptoms disappear and you will be full of energy!

Your training during this period of pregnancy should include exercises for the whole body. Exercises for the core muscles are particularly important because, among other things, they stabilize the spine. In this way, you will keep possible back pain under control and strengthen your muscles.

Static exercises like side planks are particularly good exercises for this time of year. The lateral variations in your training serve to train your oblique/lateral abdominal muscles. This supports your spine.

 Third Trimester

In the third trimester of pregnancy, you should continue to exercise your entire body. At this particular time, it is advisable to exercise to counteract the discomfort caused by water retention and swollen legs.

There are variations of almost every exercise, so you can keep doing them until the end of your pregnancy. For example, you can do the “Sumo Squat” variant of the squat. Due to the wider support, your abdomen has enough space and thus does not get in the way of performing the exercise.

If you feel a lot of discomfort or discomfort, and you still do not want to stop exercising, aqua fitness is an option for you. Your joints are relieved with the water and the back pain decreases.

But yoga is also feasible and suitable for many pregnant women, especially for relieving muscle tension and strengthening the pelvic muscles. Here is a perfect place to start your yoga journey!

As long as you’re feeling fine and it’s not a high-risk pregnancy, you can continue exercising until your baby is born.

 

References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4622376/
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/
  3. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy