Many women continue to run, lift, do sports such as crossfit while they are pregnant. There is 15% chance of miscarriage until baby’s heartbeat is present. Genetic problems, drug or alcohol abuse, hormonal imbalances can cause or contribute to miscarriage vs. exercising does not. I think the myth is that if you jump up and down too much or if you lift heavy, you may experience a miscarriage. The fact is that your baby is protected very well in your womb and is not going anywhere.
I am a practicing doctor and due to the nature of my job, I do not get to sit down. I also tried to work out for about an hour 2-3 times a week. At least, that was my pre-pregnancy routine. During my pregnancy, I went to the gym twice and in both instances, after 15 minutes of light workout, I was so out of breath that I had to leave. When I got home, I was wiped out for 2 hours. Due to the extreme fatigue and not feeling well, I could not make it to the gym so I ended up cancelling my membership.
Even after cancelling my gym membership, thanks to my job, I was able to stay active by moving around whenever I was at work. Then when I was home, I would keep active with gardening, cooking, light cleaning etc. I stayed away from prolonged sitting and bending over too much to pick something up from the floor, or getting something from the cabinet/ fridge since those would give me back pain. I also got a piece of elastic band to work out some muscle groups for two main reasons: 1- I was losing my muscle mass since I was no longer lifting weights. 2- I was getting a forward head posture and wanted to oppose the forward pull by getting my back stronger. I did couple exercises periodically to keep my upper back, shoulders and hips in check. I would also take walks around my neighborhood to stay active and de-stress from daily drama.
When it comes to what kind of exercise in what amounts is right for you, it is mainly up to you and how you feel. There are really no recommended guidelines. First trimester, due to fatigue and nausea, I do not think any soon-to-be mom can stick with a strict exercise program. Second trimester is the time that you start feeling better, however your blood volume is already 50% increased, baby is getting bigger and placenta is fully developed so you are carrying around some extra weight. You may find out that your exercise capacity is not the same. Third trimester is the time that everything starts getting tight that you start waddling even when you are walking so moving around definitely gets restricted.
If you already have a routine and able to go on with some adjustments, and then do it. If you are a crossfit athlete, I advise you to use less weight during lifts. If you like to run, I advise you to either slow down your speed or cut down on your distance. If you cannot run anymore but like to stay active, you can use the elliptical, which is a great alternative to running or simply walk.
Pilates and yoga are great tools to use while pregnant. Pilates focus on core stabilization and hip strengthening while yoga focuses on improving overall flexibility, and strength by using your own body weight.
6 Don’t’s of exercise
- Refrain from hot yoga since high temperatures may affect your and your baby’s health
- Make sure you are not holding your breath. If you are holding your breath, you may increase your blood pressure during exercising
- Ensure you are drinking enough water before and after exercise to avoid dehydration
- Do not push yourself beyond your limits- this is not the time for that
- Your tolerance differs everyday – your body is changing daily so what you could tolerate will be different so stick with a program that has variety of exercises
- If exercising is new to you then tut more emphasis on stretching since keeping more flexible and mobile can aid during labor
I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!
Images retrieved from: