Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

Written by: Emma Anius

Being pregnant is one of the great joys of being a woman.  The only downside is that you may feel more tired than usual, your back may ache, and your ankles may be swollen.
In-between the morning sickness and bathroom breaks exercise is probably the last thing on your mind.  But exercising during your pregnancy can ease many of the symptoms of being pregnant.  It can reduce or even prevent back pain, boost energy levels, prevent excess weight gain, reduce pregnancy-related high blood pressure, postpartum depression and help you prepare for labor by increasing stamina and muscle strength.
Getting into exercise during pregnancy can be a scary thing, it is important to listen to your body.  If you experience any dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, chest pain or abdominal pain stop immediately and make sure you contact your doctor.
If you participated in physical activity before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue but not at the same intensity. If you haven’t exercised for a while, you can still participate just ensure that you consult with your doctor, begin with as little as five minutes of physical activity a day and work your way up.
Walking is a great exercise if your just starting out, it provides a moderate aerobic workout with minimal stress on your joints.  For most pregnant women 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended but shorter workouts can help you stay in shape and prepare for labor.
Remaining hydrated is very important, especially during pregnancy.  Water is responsible for getting rid of the waste products from the cells and it helps the liver and kidney function for both mother and child.  It is also responsible for adequate breast milk production and flow.  If you don’t drink enough water you could suffer from preterm labor or even a miscarriage.
Becoming overheated is another factor that can cause complications during pregnancy and staying away from the sun in St Lucia is nearly impossible. If you have to exercise outdoors the best time to do so is early in the morning or at night after the sun goes down.  Reaching temperatures greater than 102°F (39°C) could potentially create problems with the developing fetus and cause birth defects.  Keeping hydrated can help you replenish any water lost from overheating so make sure you have a bottle of water at hand while working out.
Exercising while pregnant brings many benefits but only if you perform the right exercises.  Walking during pregnancy is one of the simplest and easiest ways to maintain your fitness levels and help promote a fast and easy labor.  Other exercises such as swimming,
cycling on a stationary bike even jogging may be done in moderation.
Exercises that are not recommended to do while pregnant are anything that requires you to lie flat on your back after the first trimester.  Any activity that involves bouncing, holding your breath or sudden changes in direction is also not advised; as well as contact sports.  Contact your doctor before you want to start any exercise.
Remember to stretch before and after each workout. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and be careful to avoid overheating. No matter how dedicated you are to being in shape, don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. Looking after your body is the key to healthy living. If you have any concerns about exercising while pregnant please contact your doctor.

Note: Emma Anius is a Personal Trainer for Cyan Fitness promoting a ‘healthy life and a better you.’ Email:

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