Exercising is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being during pregnancy. Generally, low-impact exercises are recommended during this time because they are usually safer. We’ll talk about the benefits of working out during pregnancy and discuss options that are considered safe by obstetricians during the first trimester.
Then, we will focus on establishing a good workout routine, how much exercise you need, and whether or not working out early in the pregnancy could cause a miscarriage.
Advantages of Exercising During Pregnancy
Exercise is one of the greatest things a person can do for themselves and their baby. The benefits also extend beyond the pregnancy term.
Regular exercise can provide a wide range of benefits to pregnant women, including:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced morning sickness
- Improved mood
- Reduced fatigue
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Easier childbirth
- Reduced risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational diabetes
- Reduced risk of developing hemorrhoids or constipation
- Ability to manage pregnancy weight gain, maintaining a healthier weight during/after pregnancy
Many times, pregnant women who exercise regularly while pregnant are less likely to develop complications at birth, which might require cesarean delivery.
Low-impact workouts tend to be the safest for pregnant women. They’re the least likely to cause any complications associated with miscarriage and congenital abnormalities.
A particular exercise could be harmful if it:
- Causes dehydration
- Puts too much pressure on the fetus and uterus
- Leads to overheating
- Puts too much strain on the muscles, bones, or joints
Many pregnant women use a mixture of exercises to work the body in various ways.
How to Get Started
During your first trimester, aim to start new exercise habits gradually. The amount of exercise you require depends on how active you were before you got pregnant.
It’s always best to choose low-impact workouts, which can include yoga, walking, water aerobics, and swimming. Sometimes, more vigorous exercises can be appropriate during the first trimester. These can consist of jogging, running, and lifting moderate weights.
Though the benefits of exercise usually outweigh the risks, it’s best to talk to your doctor before you start a new workout routine.
If you regularly exercise before you got pregnant, you should talk to a doctor or personal fitness trainer about ways to gradually decrease the workout’s intensity to a level more appropriate during pregnancy.
How Much to Exercise
Most doctors and health agencies recommend that pregnant women get about 150 minutes of low-impact and moderate-intensity exercise every week. In fact, those 150 minutes a week can be done as 30-minute sessions five times a day. However, some pregnant women might only have time to do 10 or 20 minutes of exercise each day. This can happen because of pregnancy symptoms, including lower back pain or nausea.
Best Exercises to Do During the First Trimester
The following exercises are recommended often for pregnant women in their first trimester:
Pelvic floor exercises are often called Kegels, and they strengthen all of the muscles that support your abdominal organs, such as the vagina, uterus, bladder, and bowels. Kegels can also help you reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids and help maintain your control over your bladder functions.
If you’ve never done a Kegel before, find the muscle group first. To do this, insider a finger into your vagina, trying to squeeze that finger with the muscles around it. These are the muscles you’re trying to work.
To do the exercise, you will want to urinate first, and then squeeze your Kegel muscles, holding the contraction for about five to 10 seconds before you relax again. The goal is to use no other surrounding muscles, such as the legs, buttocks, or abs. You’re supposed to do between 10 and 20 of the contractions at a time and about three or four times each day. They’re also good to do after pregnancy.
Walking and/or Jogging
If you’re looking for a low-impact, gentle exercise option, walking on a flat and even surface is the best option. To increase your heart rate, you can swing your arms in rhythmic, wide movements. However, you can also walk for relaxation if you do it slowly and in a natural and calm setting.
Women who don’t often take walks should start off doing a couple of 10-minute walks each week. During that first trimester, your goal will be to gradually build yourself up to taking up to five 30-minute walks a week.
Jogging can also be a great exercise for pregnant women if you’re used to running already. Fast walkers can transition gradually to jogging when using a flat and even surface.
Just make sure that you’re wearing footwear that is supportive and fits correctly if you plan to take longer walks. It’s also a good idea to stretch afterward and warm up your muscles first.
Can Exercising While Pregnant Cause Miscarriage?
Pregnant women who choose to play contact sports or do high-impact workouts might put too much strain on their uterus. This could cause serious complications, such as preterm labor and bleeding.
If your core temperature goes higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit for over 10 minutes while you’re in the first trimester, this is called overheating. It’s been linked to miscarriage and fetal neural abnormalities.
You should stop exercising immediately when:
- Lightheaded or dizzy
- Have trouble breathing
- Have a headache
- Have an unsteady or uncomfortable heartbeat
Likewise, pregnant women should call an ambulance or go to the ER if they experience:
- Chest pain
- Vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Rapid or slow pulse
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
Our goal is to help you stay fit, feel better, and have a healthy pregnancy through all trimesters. Please follow us on Facebook to get more helpful tips and be part of a growing community.