In the previous blog post we discussed reasons to exercise during pregnancy and its benefits. But What exercises should I do? Today we will discuss the Do’s & Don’ts, risks and things to avoid, and recommended activities during pregnancy.
Principles to Follow During Pregnancy
Each individual is different and needs a customized plan & Evaluation first from your physician!
- Moderate exercise/activity has many benefits
- Don’t overdue what you are normally used to doing
- Start slow and gradually increase
- Start before you are pregnant if possible
- Enjoy the time by doing it with a friend, spouse, or family members
Risks & Things to Avoid when Exercising while Pregnant:
- Dehydration & Hyperthermia.
- Falls (Shifts in the pelvis, increased laxity, and changes in the center of gravity during pregnancy may increase the risk of falling).
- Falls are dangerous because they could lead to abdominal trauma which can lead to abruption placentae (bleeding and tearing away of the placenta)
- Contact sports: gymnastics, horseback riding, skiing, vigorous racquet sports, hockey, soccer, and basketball, Scuba Diving.
How to tell if you are doing ‘too much’:
1. The “Talk Test”: you should be able to carry on a normal conversation with moderate exercise intensity.
2. Target heart rates
- If you have not exercised previously you should aim for 65% of maximal heart rate
- If you regularly exercise you should aim for 65-85% of maximum heart rate
- Target heart rates recommended by Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
- 140-155 for age < 20 years
- 135-150 for age 20-29 years
- 130-145 for age 30-39 years
- 125-140 for age > 40 years
Stop Exercising and notify your provider if any of the following:
- Vaginal bleeding, dizziness, weakness, faintness, shortness of breath, contractions, nausea, pain, swelling, or decreased fetal movement
Exercises to Consider:
So now that we covered the risks and things to be aware of when exercising, what CAN I do? There are a variety of safe activities and finding the ones that you enjoy is important. If you enjoy it and it is comfortable it is more likely that you will continue it as your pregnancy progresses.
- Swimming and Water aerobics: is ideal as it can decrease swelling, reduces forces on joints & avoid hyperthermia and falls
- Aerobics and Dancing
- Walking, cycling, stair climbing
- Yoga and stretching
- Light resistance training or dumbbell lifting
To find out about resources in your area for exercise see the Hanford Exercise Guide – click here