During pregnancy, many women do not know if they should continue their gym routine. This doubt makes them fear that it may interfere with that natural process. On the other hand, many who have never exercised do not know whether to dare to do it.
There are many studies that support physical activity in pregnant women, proposing activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, some types of Pilates, and even bodybuilding work. The reason they recommend such a physical activity is because the body of the expectant mother undergoes numerous changes during the course of pregnancy (physical and hormonal), which require considerable physical effort.
Fitness and childbirth
Being physically well-conditioned is of great help in the pre- and postpartum stages, due to the activation and strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles. The great help generated by that muscle activation, also helps the lymphatic system to retain less fluid. And the early recovery of the pelvic floor muscles in natural deliveries is more evident in people who have trained before delivery.
This should be done with a focus on slow, controlled movements. It is ideal to choose techniques that make the body work very effectively such as yoga, mobility, restorative Pilates, as well as dynamic exercises on machines or with rubber bands (mini bands).
These could be pulley exercises holding static loads for a few seconds and returning to dynamic movements. Free weight (underweight) exercises can also be included by doing sets of 12 to 15 repetitions with short 30-second breaks.
Whatever the technique or type of exercise, it is very important to be properly controlled by a specialist. Even better, by watching a heart monitor, he should be aware that the heart rates are not going to be too high. At this stage, avoid back exercises.
The focus of this cycle is based on working the posture muscles, especially strengthening the gluteus and the dorsal, abdominal, and lumbar areas. This should be done to prevent the frequent problem of sciatica suffered by many pregnant women, due to the increase in the size of the belly that causes overstress in the posterior muscles.
It is also necessary to maintain a correct muscle tone in the abdomen; it will be vital for the thrust at the time of delivery. Another important fact is to knowing that, for prevention, all exercises should be performed from the sitting position to avoid reloading at the lumbar level.
Cardiovascular exercise is ideal because weight gain causes a deficit in the venous return of the pregnant woman. However, it is extremely important that each case should be studied by a true professional who can prescribe the activity. As the pregnant woman should know the type of exercise that can be done, a highly qualified trainer should be hired to avoid possible risks.
During pregnancy, it is optimal to pay attention to the sensations as they are a great guide in each activity, for this reason, it is best to listen to the body and rest.
The symptoms can be:
• Intense headache
• Dizziness or lack of vision
• Muscular weakness
• Internal abdominal pain
• Excessive fluid build-up
• Excess inflammation of any vein
• Loss of fluid or vaginal bleeding
If some of these appear it is important to consult your doctor before continuing with the training process.
Those amazing Kegel exercises
Although the effects of Kegel exercises cannot be perceived visually, some women use them to reduce urinary incontinence, which the baby causes by leaning on the bladder. Kegel exercises help to strengthen the “pelvic floor muscles”, which are the muscles that help control the bladder.
Kegel exercises are so easy that you can do them anytime if you have a few seconds to spare; while you are sitting in the car, behind the desk, or standing in a store. No one will ever know that you are practicing them!
In order to locate the muscles to be used, realize that you want to stop urinating. Contract those muscles for a few seconds and then loosen them. If you are using the correct muscles, you will feel a tug. Or put a finger inside your vagina and feel them contract. Your doctor can also help you identify the correct muscles.
When doing Kegel exercises, you should keep the following tips in mind:
– Do not contract other muscles such as the stomach or legs at the same time. You have to focus on the muscles you are exercising.
– Do not hold your breath while doing the exercises, as it is important that your body and muscles continue to receive oxygen when you do any type of exercise.
– Do not do Kegel exercises regularly while urinating, as this can prevent the bladder from emptying completely, increasing the risk of a UTI.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Once you are ready-to-go, do the following:
– Start with short periods. If you have not been active for a while, 5 minutes of exercise a day is a good way to start. Add 5 minutes each week, until you reach 30-minute periods.
– Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, and wear a suitable bra to protect your breasts.
– Drink plenty of water to avoid excessive rise in body temperature and dehydration.
– Do not exercise if you are sick.
– Opt to walk in an air-conditioned mall on hot, humid days.
– Above all, listen to the signals your body sends you every day.
Exercises to be avoided:
• High-impact exercises such as jumping jacks or anaerobic (high intensity) exercises.
• Exercises of physical contact.
• Strong bounces and slowdowns.
• It is not advisable to train in very hot places, or at very hot times, during the day.
And above all… LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY!