One of the most difficult things for women to cope with during pregnancy is the reduced mobility that comes with the increased size and weight. This is especially difficult for women who were fond of sports and exercise before they became pregnant. But the good news is there’s no reason why women can’t exercise during pregnancy, as long as they do it in a certain way.
Throughout history, women have been told that moving around when pregnant was bad for them; that they should stay of their feet as much as possible. In medieval times, queens were confined to their beds for months at a time when carrying royal offspring.
Fortunately, medical knowledge about pregnancy and women’s fitness has advanced rather a lot since then. Shelly Compton, head of pre-and-post-natal exercise at Discovery Learning, is here to share some tips with us about exercise and nutrition for pregnant women:
“Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your body and your baby hydrated while you exercise. As you work out, you perspire and your body loses fluids, so the need for water increases. Depriving yourself of water can be damaging to the baby because it can cause early uterine contractions.”
“Make sure you put at least 500 calories a day into your body. You need these calories because you’re eating for two. Two bodies and two brains. This does not mean that you can binge eat on just anything. Avoid processed foods and junk food with lots of sugar and fat. Get the calories you need from healthy foods such as fish, cereal, vegetables, thin slices of meat and fruits. Above all, don’t drink any alcohol.”
“Walking is an excellent exercise for pregnant women to do. Just make sure you stretch your muscles slowly for a few minutes before you start a walking session. You’ll know you’re ready when you can feel your heart rate increase. Stretch down after your walking session as well, in order to bring your heart rate back to a normal level.”
“Women can usually run while pregnant, but don’t do this without the approval of your doctor, in case you are one of the unfortunate pregnant women that has one of the various medical conditions which mean running is not advisable during pregnancy.”
“Try to avoid exercising in hot weather. If it’s summer time, go to a gym with air conditioning. Hot temperatures contribute to dehydration and the risk of uterine contractions.”
“If you usually do weight lifting work with restraint machines, lessen the weight amounts by half and do more repetitions instead. For example, if you normally lift 10kg dumbbells and do ten repetitions at a time with your arms, take it down to 5kg dumbbells and do fifteen to twenty repetitions.”