In my experience, being physically active both before and during pregnancy assist with labor.
Before I was pregnant, I had been active my entire life. However, as soon as I announced my good news, it was suddenly everyone’s opinion that I should be spending all of my time at home learning to crochet!
With so many misconceptions about prenatal fitness, it is easy for even the most active woman to be concerned about the what’s good and what’s not when it comes to working out during pregnancy.
For many, it is as if pregnancy is some form of chronic illness and us ladies should be wrapped in cotton wool for nine months. Of course it is important to take care of you and your baby, but is being active during pregnancy really a bad thing?
Prenatal Fitness: The Truth
Even for those women who were completely sedentary before pregnancy, general light physical activity is ok. Actually, performing some form of light activity throughout pregnancy, even just walking, can prevent excessive weight gain. This can help prevent complications like gestational diabetes.
Even those ladies who were incredibly active before pregnancy don’t need to suddenly stop. As long as you listen to your body and take the necessary precautions, there is no reason why you can’t continue your normal activities for the majority of your pregnancy.
I have known many women who have taught dance and done strength training right up until the day they gave birth.
In my experience, being physically active both before and during pregnancy assist with labor. Not only are your muscles stronger giving you more force but you have better knowledge of how to control and isolate your muscles.
Being more in tune with your own body is something that is very important. But even more so during pregnancy. Understanding your body enough to know if something feels different during pregnancy and be able to use it effectively during childbirth are both important factors that being physically active can help.
Are There Any Precautions You Should Take?
It is important to discuss your fitness program with your healthcare provider. Whether it is your midwife or doctor, explain your activities prior to pregnancy and discuss your expectations throughout the next 40 weeks. Your healthcare provider will talk about it with you and if they know your lifestyle, they will consider it at every visit. This means they can keep a check on your levels and body to make sure what you are doing is fine to continue throughout your entire pregnancy.
It is also important to remember that even the best made plans can change. Pregnancy is unpredictable and your body changes rapidly. What may be fine to do one week may suddenly be off limits the next. Remember that yours and your baby’s health are the most important things. Don’t try to push yourself to reach particular goals is physically it becomes impossible.
Also take care in the gym. Remembering that weight lifting raises your blood pressure, if your strength training you should stop immediately if at any time you feel light headed or dizzy.
Also, your body is filled with relaxing during pregnancy. This is a hormone and its purpose is to relax the ligaments and connective tissue in the pelvis during pregnancy in preparation for childbirth. However, this hormone doesn’t stick solely to the pelvis and affects all of your joints. Leaving them a bit looser and in some cases hyper-extensive. Therefore, it is important to take extra care to ensure you do not injure yourself especially when strength training.
Moreover, if you work with a personal trainer make sure you tell them immediately so that they can adjust your workout accordingly to ensure it is safe for you to perform.
Listen to Your Body
There are many conditions you can develop during pregnancy which can affect your ability to be active. Personally, I was severely anemic during pregnancy, which is very common. This meant was dizzy to the point of fainting most of the time.
Later on in pregnancy I had separation of my upper abdominal and my daughters head engaging dislocated my hip. This left me unable to do pretty much anything. Therefore, it is good to keep in mind that even if you are a very active person, circumstances may not allow you to be active throughout your pregnancy.