During pregnancy, sports can be very beneficial if you follow the right guidelines and choose the most relevant exercises. We will tell you about these in this article. Read on!
It was not that long ago, that exercise was thought to be negative for a pregnant woman because, in theory, it could compromise a baby’s development. However, currently, a series of studies discussed in this article has confirmed that this hypothesis is not true.
Certain exercises do not harm the fetus and, on top of that, can even improve the conditions of childbirth and prevent certain conditions during pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure associated with pregnancy.
What physical exercise can a pregnant woman do?
Before we start talking more specifically about recommendations, it’s important to stress that all women need to be individualized. In other words, every woman needs to consider her own condition and experience to exercise.
What is good for some people in terms of health can be harmful to others if they are less physically fit or have a medical condition. It is, therefore, essential to consult a specialist about developing a tailor-made plan.
First of all, one of the most recommended sports during pregnancy is swimming. And not just the traditional one: any exercise program done in the water can be beneficial. This helps the back and lumbar muscles while reducing back pain.
Also, one area of the body is highly recommended to work on: the pelvic floor. This is why the woman is suggested to perform Kegel contractions. This helps the pelvic muscles and decrease urinary incontinence.
- Pelvic strengthening is fundamental during pregnancy to improve outcomes during childbirth.
A sedentary lifestyle has many negative consequences for anyone. Thus, moderate cardiovascular exercise also has benefits in pregnant women. We recommend, for example, walks and exercise bike sessions.
This is one of the most controversial topics about exercise for pregnant women. However, a study published in the Andalusian Journal of Sports Medicine states that they can help improve labor and postpartum recovery.
We have also seen that a series of inconveniences frequently associated with pregnancy is reduced by working for certain muscle groups. This is the case with lower back pain. Work on the abdominal muscles and hips is therefore indicated.
However, you should avoid using free weights or heavy resistance. It is ideal for working with machines or elastic bands as they reduce the risk of injury. It would help if you also preferred shorter series but with more repetitions.
What physical exercise should a pregnant woman avoid?
It is true that just as the exercises just mentioned can have benefits; others generally are associated with more risks and complications. Doctors recommend avoiding all sports that can cause trauma to the baby, such as:
Contact or ball sports: football, basketball, volleyball.
Those that involve a high risk of falls: skiing, cycling, horseback riding, or climbing.
Demanding activities: those that raise your heart rate too much, such as athletics or bodybuilding.
As we have reported, before exercising, a pregnant woman should be aware of her physical condition. Sport cannot be viewed in the same way for a sedentary pregnant woman as for a physically active woman. The same thing happens with those with pathology.
A study published in the Journal of Clinic and Research in Gynecology and Obstetrics concludes that exercise reduces the risk of suffering from pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. She also claims that swimming decreases the incidence of preterm deliveries.
Also, there is currently insufficient evidence to indicate that complications arise from exercise in pregnant women. Obviously, you have to do it properly and choose your type of sport.
Swimming is a complete sport for pregnant women, with little impact and little risk to the fetus.
What to remember about sport and pregnancy?
We need to keep in mind that exercise is beneficial in many ways, both physical and mental. The myth that a pregnant woman should only rest and avoid moving should be removed as this can lead to more negative consequences than positive.
The most recommended exercises are those that have a low impact and help build muscle. This is the case, for example, swimming or the exercise bike. They should all be done moderately, always considering each woman’s conditions and the pregnancy itself.