Unless your caregiver gives you the green light, you should not participate in exercise if you're at risk for pregnancy complications, including:
-- A history of preterm labor in this or a past pregnancy
-- Placental problems
-- Heart disease
-- Kidney disease
Exercise might be recommended if you have diabetes, but it should be under the care and monitoring of your health professional.
-- Weight training can be done throughout pregnancy, but after 24 weeks, the abdominal muscles thin out and there may be some separation of those muscles. After this time, it's best not to put excessive strain on these muscles. (Don't attempt sit-ups.)
-- During the third trimester, avoid any strenuous exercise performed when lying flat on your back. The weight of the baby may impair blood flow through the vena cava to the uterus or may leave you light-headed.
-- Adapt activities for hot or cold weather.
-- Drink fluids liberally throughout the period of exertion.
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, call your midwife or physician right away:
-- Abdominal pain
-- Contractions that come at regular intervals and seem to continue after the period of exercise
-- Chest pain or shortness of breath
-- Alteration in vision
We've come a long way from the days when an expectant mom was advised against exerting herself. Now care providers individualize recommendations and allow women to participate in their own care and take responsibility for their own health.
Your exercise guidelines should be discussed at your first OB visit. Don't hesitate to call the clinic for advice before that appointment. Build at least 30 minutes of dedicated exercise into your day. Get your time up to 60 minutes by taking the stairs, parking at the far end of the lot and taking the children to the park. With regular exercise, you'll recover faster and you'll be ready for the postpartum period and the many years of fitness ahead!
Are you pregnant and determined to stay fit? Chime in below!