Don't let pregnancy scare you away from staying fit. Exercising while pregnant is important for the health of both you and your baby and can help ease the discomforts during these nine months, but it is necessary to practice with the proper precautions.
Here are some pregnancy dos and don'ts from licensed physical therapist and perinatal specialist, Alycea Ungaro, to keep you and your baby safe and healthy while you exercise.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is the leading cause of pre-term labor;
- Exercise regularly. Gone are the days of lounging through your pregnancy. Your exercise program should prepare you for the rigorous and even grueling task of parenting;
- Pay attention to your posture. Slouching or leaning back may feel comfortable now but you'll pay for it later as weakened muscles cause a sore body;
- Continue to exercise your 'core' or abs. As your abdominal wall stretches to accommodate the baby, you'll need to keep those muscles toned;
- Follow the everything/nothing rule. Do everything you can do, and nothing you can't do.
- Push through pain. Pain is a signal that something is wrong. Listen to your body;
- Hold your breath! Depriving your blood of oxygen will deprive your baby of oxygen. Be sure to breathe fully and deeply as you exercise;
- Eat right before you exercise. Allow your body time to digest and use the nutrients you feed it by eating 45 minutes before you workout.
- Exercise on your back for prolonged periods of time past the fourth month of pregnancy. Increased weight and pressure can compress vital pathways for blood transport and potentially harm your unborn baby;
- Climb a ladder, walk a tightrope or do anything else that challenges your balance. As your center of gravity is constantly changing due to the baby's position, your balance is compromised.