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Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Most moms-to-be wanting to do something which is safe, good and healthy to the baby and themselves. Exercising is certainly one of the options that you want to start working on.  The good news is you are certainly allowed to exercise during your pregnancy, except for the following cases.  Hence, please check the following prior starting your exercise.

Who Shouldn’t Exercise During Pregnancy?
According to editors from What to Expect, “Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy”, dated 28 June, 2018, this group of pregnant lady shall not exercise or must get green light from your doctor for any of your exercise plan:

  • Anemia.
  • Chronic Bronchitis.
  • Poorly Controlled Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Being Obese or Extremely Underweight.
  • Poorly Controlled Hypertension.
  • Persistent Vaginal Bleeding.
  • Incompetent Cervix.
  • Preterm rupture of placenta membranes.

To be safe, it is always good to check with your doctor prior starting your exercising.

What Are The Benefits of Exercising?


  • Feel Better
    Releasing of endorphins will boost your mood and reduces stress and depression during your pregnancy.  It is important that you and your baby feel happy and good at all days.

  • Sleep Better
    Exercising helps reducing stress, hence you can sleep better during your pregnancy.  Enough rest is certainly important for everyone, what’s more for pregnant lady whose body has to  work harder for themselves plus the baby.

  • Build Stronger Muscle and Better Stamina
    As there will be changes in body weight as baby grows in our body, it is important to have stronger muscle and prevent any wear and tear at our joint during the daily life.  Stronger muscle and better stamina are vital during our labor time too.  Increased of endurance is important in the event of lengthy labour.  

  • Relieve Backache and Pelvis Pain
    As your body changes and adding more weight, it is not surprise that you will experience backache and achy pelvis.  Exercising is one of the way to strengthen muscles at both lower back and pelvis to reduce the pain at late pregnancy.

  • Reduce Constipation
    Constipation is another common problem face by pregnant lady.  Exercising encourage active bowels, thus help to relieve from constipation.

  • Reduce Risk of Complications
    According to What to Expect, “13 Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy”, it shared one of the study done in 2017, women who participated in fitness programs were less likely to develop gestational diabetes and less likely to have unplanned cesarean sections compare to those who didn’t exercise.

How Long Shall I Exercise?


I ask the same question to my doctor during my pregnancy.  My doctor advised me that I may exercise for total of 150 minutes in a week!  But, is that a must?  No! What if you seldom exercise prior to your pregnancy, what should you do?  Don’t worry, you may start slowly says 5 minutes exercise and built it up when you are more comfortable.  Don’t rush to achieve the 150 minutes exercise per week!  This is not a competition!  It is important that you learn to listen to your body in order to create benefits for you and your baby.  The moment you feel tired of exercising, please stop!

What Exercise Can You Do?


Pregnant ladies are advice to do some exercises that comes with low risk of falling and injuries.  Again, we exercise for health purposes, hence low impact exercises are sufficient for pregnant ladies.  These are:

  • Warm Up and Cooling Down
    Warming up prior exercise and cooling down after exercise are crucial to all of us.  According to article written by Mayo Clinic Staff published in Heathly Lifesytle Fitness, they mentioned that  “A warm-up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warming up may also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury. Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure.”  With that, we must not overlook the process of warm up and cool down.  A simple warm up and cool down is a slow walk of 5 to 10 minutes.  It is simple, isn’t it?  

  • Walking
    Walking is a safe and common exercise to pregnant women.  This exercise is easy to start off with because you can walk at a small park at neighborhood, small garden at home or just walk around your gated and guarded area.  How long have you not done exercise with your spouse?  Take this as an opportunity to walk with him.  

  • Swimming
    Swimming is a good sport for pregnant women because this is one of the low risk exercises.  This exercise is gentle, and the water support is able support your body weight.  You will feel lighter when you are swimming in the pool.  In addition, when you are in the right moves, swimming helps to ease common issues such as backache, leg swelling and sleep troubles.

  • Yoga
    Yoga helps you to strengthen your muscles and relax.  However, you must not overwork your body.  If possible, you may attend prenatal class which guide you on simple yoga exercises which will helps you in relaxation plus prep for labour.  

  • In-door Cycling
    We are referring the in-door cycling to the stationary bike.  Yes, you may cycle on a stationary bike because cycling is a good cardiovascular workout that improve your muscle without stressing your joints.  However, you must adjust the handlebars and your seat as your belly grows in order to give better comfort.  

Are there any exercise that you should avoid?  Yes, please avoid doing risky sports during your pregnancy. Exercises that increase the risk of falling and injuries are risky sports such as bouncing, hockey, scuba diving, horse riding, basketball, skiing and others.

When Should You Stop Exercising?

Listen to your body, watch out for symptoms and check with your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual pain
  • Contractions
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fluid leaking from vagina

Start your exercise plan today and enjoy every moment that you spend with your little one.

References:

  1. “Pregnancy Fitness:  Your Best Move Before Baby Arrives” WebMD, 16 May 2018  
    https://www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-pregnancy-fitness-moves

  2. “Exercising During Pregnancy” KidsHealth From Nemours, June 2018
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercising-pregnancy.html

  3. “Exercises To Do and To Avoid During Pregnancy” MyVMC Virtual Medical Centre, 10 August 2010
    https://www.myvmc.com/pregnancy/exercises-to-do-and-avoid-during-pregnancy/

  4. “Exercise During Pregnancy” American Pregnancy Association, 2 September 2016
    http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/

  5. “13 Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy” What to expect, 14 October 2018
    https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/exercise-benefits

  6. “Aerobic Exercise: How to Warm Up and Cool Down” Mayo Clinic, 10 August 2016
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517




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