Pregnant? Work it out!!

November 10, 2010

One of my clients just entered her third trimester of pregnancy.  She’s always been a runner and is still comfortable breaking into a jog during bouts of cardio.  I am amazed at how critical others react to this type of workout, claiming she shouldn’t be running, that she’s in a ‘fragile state’ or somehow she’s being selfish.  ACOG states that if you were a runner before you became pregnant, you can still run…although you may have to modify your routine.

See, the thing is, research shows that working out during pregnancy does wonders for both mother and baby.  Benefits include:

  • Boosts moods
  • Reduces aches & pains including low back pain
  • Improves sleep
  • Manages weight gain
  • Helps reduce bloating, constipation, swelling
  • Keeps mommy limber
  • Promotes muscle tone, strength & endurance

As long as the doctor gives clearance for her to work out, there are some smart guidelines a pregnant woman should follow:

  • If you did it before you were pregnant, it’s probably safe to still enjoy (except for activities like boxing or snowboarding)
  • Something that feels good yesterday might not feel so great doing today.  Listen to your body!
  • Do not exercise to lose weight (just sayin’)
  • Keeping your heart rate at a moderate level (some say 140 bpm):  as long as you can talk you’re probably ok

There are some warning signs to be aware of and a pregnant woman should call her doctor if she experiences any of these signs or symptoms:

  • bleeding, spotting or fluid leakage
  • dizziness, headaches or feeling faint
  • shortness of breath or chest pains
  • decreased fetal movement

In some instances, a doctor may restrict workouts — risk of preterm labor or high blood pressure may be two deciding factors.

I always have a snack on hand for my ladies, as workouts stimulate the appetite and nausea can occur if they’ve gone too long without something to eat.  Be sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks sitting down.  Fidget often.  Standing in one place too long can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities leading to lightheadedness.

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