The scientific community recommends moderate physical activity as long as the pregnancy is healthy and there is no risk to either mother or baby.
It’s beneficial to exercise during pregnancy? Many future mothers might be asking themselves this exact question. Well, the answer to this question is clear: Yes. All experts recommend exercises during pregnancy as long as it’s a healthy gestation.
According to gynecologists, obstetricians and midwives, it’s scientifically proven that women who exercise during the months of pregnancy enjoy a pregnancy with less discomfort, a faster delivery and a more bearable postpartum recovery than mothers who don’t exercise. What’s the reason? What are the benefits of exercise and what kind of sport can be done during pregnancy? Let’s answer some of these questions.
Why it’s beneficial to exercise during pregnancy?
There is a lot of talk about the many benefits of exercising regularly. But what are the advantages of doing it during the weeks of pregnancy? Based on studies, the scientific community recommends the practice of moderate physical activities as long as it’s a healthy pregnancy and where there is no risk to either the mother or the baby. The reasons they have to prescribe exercises during pregnancy are many and varied:
The results of these studies confirm that exercise during pregnancy prevents the mother from gaining too much weight; reduces the chances of suffering gestational diabetes; improves blood circulation and relieves certain discomforts typical of pregnancy, such as constipation, nausea, fatigue or lower back pain. In short, the health of the mother improves and achieves an optimal physical condition that will be of great help to face the birth and the subsequent recovery.
What sports to practice?
However, the fact that some physical activity must be maintained during pregnancy doesn’t mean that any type of exercise or sport can be done. What can or cannot be done during pregnancy will depend, to a large extent, on whether the new mom was an athlete before she became pregnant.
Thus, in the case of women who didn’t play sports regularly, doctors recommend starting with moderate activity, such as walking at a good pace but not reaching exhaustion. Swimming, yoga and pilates for pregnant women can be good options during these weeks.
On the contrary, if the woman already practiced sport beforehand, there is no problem in continuing to carry out her routine, as long as she previously consults with her gynecologist and avoids fatigue and extreme tiredness. For example, if the pregnant woman ran before becoming pregnant, she could continue to do so, at least until the beginning of the third trimester. From then on, the chances of falling due to loss of balance and of twisting due to relaxation of the ligaments increase.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain disciplines totally discouraged during pregnancy. This is the case of contact sports, such as martial arts; those of high risk, such as climbing, rafting, adventure activities; underwater sports, pelvic impact (aerobic, zumba, step …) or those that require a great physical effort, such as weightlifting or rhythmic gymnastics.
How to exercise during pregnancy
Whether a pregnant athlete or not, it’s the gynecologist who must decide in each case if the pregnant woman can or cannot do sports, what kind of activity, when and how she should practice it. Therefore, it’s essential that before starting a sporting activity, the pregnant woman first consult with her specialist.
Whatever the recommendation, the activity should be moderate, avoiding overexertion so as not to endanger the baby. But in addition to this consideration there are other:
The best time to do sport is during the second trimester, because that’s when the mother is in a better state. The discomfort of the first trimester has already disappeared and in the third trimester is when there are more chances of falls.
- Muscle stretching must be done both at the beginning and at the end of physical activity to avoid injuries
- Control the heart rate: As we have said, the activity must be moderate, without reaching exhaustion, as this prevents the pulsations of the baby to accelerate as a protection mechanism.
- Avoid excess body effort: When choosing sports activity, we must take into account that it should not cause body overheating, either because it’s a very hectic exercise or because it’s practiced in very closed places with little ventilation. The temperature of the mother should not exceed 38ºC
A correct clothing, a balanced and healthy diet and good hydration are essential to be able to practice sports during pregnancy without risks.