Before you are pregnant, your basic concept of exercise revolves around pushing yourselves beyong your limits. If you are not pushing beyond your comfort zones, you probably are not impacting your body. You must totally abandon this concept when you exercise after pregnancy. Your goal is not to to push yourselves or build muscle, it is just to feel good and to improve the flexibility and strength of key areas of your body that need to be prepared for pregnancy. So before you so any kind of exercise it is important to understand the precautions you must take.
The March of Dimes has some great guidance with regards to exercise safety for pregnant women
Here in a nutshell are some of the key points.
- Avoid exercises that involve lying on the back as it can restrict blood flow to the baby.
- Avoid any kind of activities that entail a risk of falling – such as bike riding, skating, skiing or even taking a ride on Segway etc.
- Avoid any kind of contact sports such as soccer, icehockey etc
- Avoid scuba diving as its creates a risk of decompression sickness for the unborn baby
- Avoid going to high altitude places.
- Avoid exercising outdoors on hot humid days
- Avoid any exercise that overheats the body. Dont go anywhere near saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms, and also avoid doing Bikram (or hot) yoga.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking a glass of water before and after any exercise routine – however non intensive.
- Try to have some snack at least an hour before exercising to keep energy levels high.
- Invest in breathable, light exercise clothes and a good sports bra. Also be careful with teh shoes you choose.
- Avoid exercising too much in the following situations
- Multiple pregnancy – twins or triplets.
- If you had preterm labor during your most recent prior pregnancy
- If you have some sort of heart or lung ailment
- Vaginal bleeding
- if you are suffering from cervical problems such as incompetent cervix
- If your first pregnancy is at a 40 plus age.
All in all, I am in favor of exercising but with extreme caution. The benefits should outweigh any potential harm and you must ask yourselves at all points whether you are feeling upto it.