Many women wonder if it is safe to exercise during pregnacy, especially first time moms. The answer is yes. In fact, exercise can help prepare a woman for labor and delivery. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts, boost mood and energy levels, aid with sleep, prevent excessive weight gain and increase stamina and muscle strength.
It can also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and lower the chances of getting post-partum depression. However, there are certain stipulations that need to be adhered to. Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure optimum health, safety and well-being.
- Do get clearance from your health care provider before beginning any workout regimen.
- Do start with a warm up and finish with a cool down. A warm up and cool down should always be less intense than the actual workout and should include stretching.
- Do keep yourself hydrated.
- Do try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. If you're a beginner, start with 5 minutes, and slowly increase it by increments of 5 until you reach 30 minutes.
- Do try to lessen the impact on your joints by choosing exercises such as walking, swimming, or indoor cycling.
- Do contact your health care provider if any unusual symptoms occur.
- Don't start a rigorous workout if you've never, or haven't worked out in a while.
- Don't lift heavy weights.
- Don't perform any activity in which you are more likely to lose your balance.
- Don't continue if you feel dizzy, have pain, or develop other dangerous symptoms.
- Don't lie on your back if you feel discomfort, usually after the first trimester.
All in all, if these basic guidelines are followed, exercise will be an added enjoyment to the already happy and joyous time of a woman's pregnancy.