First, the most important fact: always talk to your doctor before going through any exercise or fitness regimen during pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be informed, so you can ask the right questions, or dismiss some of the fears that continue to haunt you even when your doctor says it’s okay. Read this article
What are the real risks of exercise during pregnancy?
Many myths surround what is ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ during pregnancy. For example, rigorous exercise can’t make you infertile. While professional athletes may experience some hormonal fluctuations, especially if they go on extreme diets to hit a certain weight. However, once they have a healthier exercise and diet, their cycles will return to normal.
Exercise can’t cause miscarriage, if you have a normal pregnancy. In fact one study published in the journal ‘Clinics in Sports Medicine’ found that even marathon runners who had competed in the first six weeks had no problems with miscarriage or birth defects.
Pregnancy doesn’t increase your risk for injury, but you do need to be more conscious about safety (and don’t take any medication or painkillers without your doctor’s approval). And you do need to be more protective of your belly. Though your body naturally shields the uterus with the pubic bone during the first trimester, as your baby (and belly) gets bigger it will begin to protrude. Avoid any contact sports or activities that put you at risk for falls.
How will exercise affect my baby?
As you condition your body, you are also conditioning your baby’s system and may help it become prepared for strenuous activities like a difficult labor. (read our article on dealing with fears about labor.) One study showed that babies whose moms exercised during pregnancy showed fewer signs of stress during labor and delivery, and even had higher Apgar scores.
Some women are concerned that exercise will reduce blood flow to the fetus. This won’t happen if you warm up gradually, so your blood doesn’t rush to the muscles the minute you start doing a rigorous workout. If you are very worried, avoid exercises where you are lying flat on your back, such as abdominal crunches, because less blood reaches your heart and it won’t pump as well. The safer position is to lie on your side.
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