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Alright, for you pregnant ladies out there -- and those that got them there -- I have a great guest post for you from Jenny Silverstone @ Mom Loves Best. She's helping women understand the benefits of exercising during pregnancy. So, women read up and guys share this with your significant other. Let us know your thoughts in the comments and head over to Jenny's site and show her some love.
There are many myths about pregnancy which can lead us to question what we should be doing. Many times I have stopped myself in my tracks wondering “is this good or bad for my baby?” And the advice we get from person to person is so different.
I remember a friend literally saying I had to get out of the garden because it was “bad for the baby”! So I had a talk with my midwife, did some research of my own, and I learned a few things.
I think we all worry that exercising will hurt our baby. But the reality is that there is nothing to suggest that moderate exercise does your baby any harm. If you think about it this way, our tribal ancestors were walking around, foraging, wading through rivers, building huts and carrying baskets full of food before they even knew they were pregnant. We’re made to do this!
Exercise is amazingly good for us during pregnancy. The most significant benefit is that it prepares us for labor. By building our endurance and strengthening our muscles, we are making sure our bodies are strong and ready for not only the process of labor but also the recovery afterward.
Exercise has also been proven to help regulate blood sugar, making it perfect for diabetic mothers, or mothers at risk of developing gestational diabetes. A little light exercise every day can really help.
And when it comes to pregnancy, gaining weight is great, but gaining too much weight could put our baby at risk. With how starving we will be feeling, exercise allows us to eat or snack more than usual without piling on the excess fat which may harm our babies.
Naturally, there are some perfectly good reasons to avoid exercise during pregnancy. If you have very high or very low blood pressure, if you are late in your pregnancy with multiples, or if you have a hormonal condition then you may want to take it easy and stick to light walking or nothing at all. In some of these cases, your doctor may even prescribe bed rest.
There are also some types of exercises you want to avoid. Any exercise where your belly could get hit are a no-go, for obvious reasons! That rules out martial arts but also climbing and many ball-based sports. Always look after that bump.
And finally, remember that the biggest risk when exercising during pregnancy is to yourself! My midwife made sure to tell me that chances are, no exercise I do would hurt my baby. But because of all the relaxin flooding our bodies, we are at increased risk of muscle tears, so always warm up and never push yourself too hard.
Safe exercise during pregnancy is not rocket science, fortunately! A little light walking, some easy yoga or very light strength training with a machine or supports can be all you need.
If you are interested in a different sort of exercise, you have a health condition, or you used to exercise fairly intensely, talk to your doctor or qualified pregnancy personal trainer about how to continue exercising safely.