There are many questions when we are pregnant and love exercising: Does exercise during pregnancy have any contraindications? For how long can exercise be performed? Which sports are good, and which are not?
Women undergo hormonal changes during pregnancy. Some of them are intended to facilitate delivery. One of these changes is called ligamentous laxity which happens when the tension in a ligament is less than normal. Ligament laxity is needed to open the hips and facilitate delivery. On the other hand, it makes joints more unstable and sensitive to sudden movements and bouncing.
Yoga and Pilates are great exercise choices for pregnant women. They represent a lower risk of getting hurt or having an accident.
Effect on Contractions
We all know contractions increase delivery. What we may not know is that contractions can also increase when you exercise. Do not worry! It happens because exercise increases your child’s heart rate. It is good both you and the baby.
If you have persistent contractions, you must lower the exercise’s intensity. Having persistent contractions means 6 to 8 contractions occur within an hour. It means the most important thing is to control your exercise’s intensity.
How to Calculate the Correct Exercise Intensity?
It is not easy to define the correct exercise’s intensity for everyone. Every woman is a universe, one woman can be in great shape, while another may not.
A good policy to follow would be: “If you cannot talk while practicing the exercises, you should slow down.”
Experts recommend exercising for a total of 30 to 35 minutes. You can split the total time in 5 to 10 minutes of gentle warm-up and a stretch, followed by 20 to 25 minutes of exercise.
It is beneficial to cool down and stretch when you are done.
Practicing Yoga and/or Pilates for pregnant women is a great choice: they are low impact exercises you can practice on a soft mat placed on a comfy rug.
There are other types of exercise during pregnancy, of course, all of them compatible with Yoga and Pilates, such as swimming, biking or walking.
Advantages of Practicing Yoga During Pregnancy
You can pick any sport and exercise type you prefer during pregnancy, but we recommend doing Yoga instead. Here is why:
If you choose to swim, you will have to be aware of the hygienic measures you need to take as not sitting at the edge of the pool, drying well, and removing the bathing suit as soon as possible.
If you choose to walk, you need to take the weather into account. It is harder to go for a walk during the winter, but you can plan this around the hottest time of the day. Yoga, on the other hand, can be performed all year long in the comfort of your house.
Jogging itself could have a negative effect on the pelvic floor because of bouncing. Yoga or Pilates movements are more fluid. In addition, jogging shares the same disadvantages as walking.
Biking could represent a greater risk for a pregnant woman than doing Yoga or Pilates.
What Exercises Are a No-No
Extreme and contact sports such as skating, snowboarding, rock climbing, martial arts, football, or basketball (there are constant jumps), or diving involve risks that you do not need to take.
Apart from these more obvious, there are others like tennis which performing fast movements that can destabilize you. Just consider the balance center of your body has changed because of the fetus and your new belly.
Risks and Symptoms
If any of these conditions occur, you need to visit a doctor and get his clearance before starting your exercise routine:
- Multiple pregnancies.
- Risk of abortion or previous miscarriage.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Feelings of dizziness commonly happening.
(You can find comfortable Yoga Leggings to wear during your pregnancy. If you like the one above click here.)
Benefits of Exercise for Pregnant Women
- The baby develops a stronger heart.
- It reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- It tones the muscles and makes you more flexible.
- It improves sleep quality.
- You gain less weight while staying healthy for you and the baby.
- The baby is less likely to be premature.