A lot of things are being benefited if you exercise while pregnant. A strong core and good stamina will aid during the delivery and an overall fit body will rehabilitate much quicker from the pregnancy and birth.
What to keep in mind
It’s important to continuously evaluate how different exercises feel in your body since the pregnant body is constantly changing. Something that felt good last week might not feel good this week, and something that works for your friend might not work for you.
When it comes to the exercise intensity you may exercise at the level you are used to after the first trimester. During the first trimester though it’s good to keep the intensity level at the same level as a brisk walk. Why we recommend this is due to the lack of research on intense exercise during the first trimester. We want you to be on the safe side!
Running is okay if you are used to running. But most women quit running after pregnancy week 20 because it starts to feel uncomfortable due to the weight of the growing uterus and baby.
Every pregnancy is unique
Pregnant women aren’t a group of people where there are certain rules that apply to everyone, but a group of people who have to find their own pace and comfort zone. It’s very vague, I know. But what’s comforting to know is that it’s little to none you can do to harm your baby if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy.
A common misconception is that exercise must look a certain way or generate X, Y and Z in results. These beliefs may cause unnecessary stress since “exercise” becomes another thing you have to deliver on, on top of everything else in your life. Instead, try to find some style of exercise that brings you joy and happiness and acts like a stress relief. Focus on setting goals that represent a state of mind, like “relaxed” or “at ease” rather than “lose 5kg” or “set a new personal best”.
Common myths about exercise while pregnant
Among the older generations, there is an opinion that “pregnant women should rest as much as possible”. Nowadays we know that’s a myth.
Exercise is good for both the baby and the mother and secondary benefits like feeling of taking care of yourself is equally important.
1. MYTH: If you didn’t exercise before you got pregnant, don’t start exercising during pregnancy
TRUTH: On the contrary, it’s never too late to start exercising! You don’t need to exercise often or intensely to achieve great benefits from exercise while pregnant. Start with brisk walks, which are considered completely risk-free.
Sidenote: The danger lies in inactivity. It contributes to excess lethargy, high blood pressure, high blood-glucose levels and different pregnancy discomforts. Inactivity and being overweight also increase the risk of pregnancy diabetes.
2. MYTH: If you do cardio exercise the baby risks getting deprived of oxygen
TRUTH: The woman’s body is created to handle stress from exercise and regulate both oxygen and temperature. In fact the pregnant body gets better at handling these things during pregnancy. There is no need to worry about your baby getting less oxygen. What will happen if you do cardio exercise though is that your uterus will grow bigger and more efficient at distributing nutrients to the baby. Win-win for everyone!
3. MYTH: Don’t exercise your abdominal muscles
TRUTH: You need strong abdominal muscles more than ever during pregnancy and before giving birth! But the abdominal muscles are divided into two groups; “the superficial 6-pack” and “the inner abdominals”. Before you have an abdominal separation you may exercise all types of ab-exercises. After week 14-16 most women experience an abdominal separation and at that point you should switch to ab-exercises for the inner abdominal muscles. You’ll find a complete pregnancy ab workout routine here!
4. MYTH: Pregnant exercise increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death
TRUTH: No, if the mother is healthy, there has been no connection between increased risk of miscarriage / stillbirth / neonatal death and physical activity. On the contrary, exercise promotes the growth of the placenta and the development of the fetus 🙂
Always consult with your doctor or midwife to get an all clear before starting a new workout routine.
Get your maternity activewear here!