Get going, baby

Being physical during pregnancy has benefits

Tina Neil, left and Grace Petschauer, right of Lakeshore Fitness.

One of the first things to do is to consult your health care provider before you participate in any form of exercise. Train as you feel able and nourish yourself with health conscious foods. Being physically active during your pregnancy has many benefits including reduced backaches, bloating and swelling, boost in mood and energy levels, prevents excess weight gain, promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance and may even reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean deliveries. 

During pregnancy there is a shift in anatomic and physiologic changes such as increased weight gain, and a shift in your center of gravity that results in progressive lordosis, triggering back pain. Breaths per minute increase, blood pressure increases, and your heart rate. Intense exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and away from your uterus. In general, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising. If you can’t speak normally while you’re working out, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard.

So, how hard should you work out? The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) or rather the Borg scale goes from 6-20, for a moderate-intensity exercise your RPE should be 13-14. You should aim for a rate where you can talk, but feel like your breathing and heart rate have both increased. 

Avoid exercises that require you to lie down on your back after the first trimester, contact sports, activities with falling risks, exercising at a high altitude, and hot yoga. Motionless postures, such as certain yoga positions and the supine position, may result in decreased venous return and hypotensionand should be avoided. During exercise pregnant women should stay well hydrated, wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid high heat and humidity to protect against heat stress. During pregnancy the most common injuries are musculoskeletal, largely related to lower extremities edema and joint laxity. 

If you haven’t exercised for awhile, start small. You may begin with as much as 5 minutes per day and slowly build until you reach 30 minutes a day. For those that have exercised before pregnancy you can probably continue to work out at the save level as long as your feeling comfortable and your health care provider says its okay. Have fun, stay motivated, and listen to your body, baby. 

Written by Grace Petschauer and Tina Neil of Lakeshore Fitness


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