YAY! You're pregnant. Now what? Here is a guide to help you navigate exercise and the physical changes you will experience during pregnancy.
We need to address a few considerations:
- If you were previously active, great! Keep doing what you were doing but at a reduced intensity. Listen to your body!
- If you were NOT previously active, no worries. Consult with your doctor about exercising. If all is well, you should be able to start a training program designed with pregnancy in mind (i.e. with a credentialed trainer).
- Exercise is not recommended if you have any of the following:
- Asthma, bleeding or spotting, low placenta, threatened or recurrent miscarriage, previous premature birth or early delivery, weak cervix, heart disease, diabetes.
We need to consider what to expect:
- Reduced stability at your joints due to loose ligaments (Relaxin production)
- Changing sense of your balance due to weight shift
- Overall fatigue (your heart is working for two!)
- Harder/longer time recovering
- Harder time sleeping
- Increase chance of dehydration
- weigh yourself before and after exercise to determine water loss so you know how much water to drink just to break even.
You'll need to fuel your body well:
- Always have water handy. You're producing more blood volume for you and your growing baby and need to stay hydrated. Being hydrated also helps with heat dissipation.
- You'll need to consider how and when you replace the calories you burn during exercise.
- Carbs are great for pre-workout (usually about 1-1.5 hours before)
- A balance of carbs and protein are great for post-workout to replenish your energy and provide nutrients for repairing muscle tissue.
- For specified amounts you should consider hiring a licensed dietician.
Dos and Dont's:
- Do breathe through each rep
- American college of sports medicine suggests to exhale during exertion
- Inhale as you relax the muscle or return to your start position
- Do take your time with each rep/movement
- Do consciously contract and engage the muscles you're trying to work/stretch
- Don't ever hold your breath or bear down on your gut to complete a movement
- Don't rush a movement or exercise (slow and steady)
- Don't work through pain (make distinction between pain and burning)
- Don't perform a movement you're not comfortable with (listen to your body)
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