Benefits of exercising while pregnant

Soon-to-be-mommies listen up!  Here’s a “guest blog” just for you!  This week cATalyzing ATs is bringing some knowledge compliments of Ms. Patra Acquaviva, MS, CSCS.  Patra is a former strength and conditioning coach for Somerset Medical Center’s Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center.  In addition to being an expert on exercise, Patra is also an amazing mommy.  Here’s Patra’s take on exercising while pregnant:

*NOTE*  Before you begin any exercise program while pregnant, please consult your health care provider.

“Many people believe that getting pregnant means your exercise routine has to be put to a halt; however exercise can be a very beneficial part to your pregnancy and recovery. It will help you feel better both physically and mentally!

If you plan on exercising while you are pregnant, the very first thing you should do is talk to your doctor about your exercise intentions. Be very specific as to what your plans are regarding your exercise routine during your pregnancy, what you have done in the past and what you are currently doing. They will help you set your exercise guidelines for the upcoming months based on your specific case and goals.

For the most part, when you get pregnant you can continue your exercise routine you were doing prior to getting pregnant. Whatever exercise your body is in the habit of doing is usually considered safe to do throughout your pregnancy (with the exception of high impact and contact sports!).  As your pregnancy progresses, the physical changes your body is going through will force you to have to make modifications to your program, so be sure to continue to update your doctor as to how you are feeling during and after you exercise.  They will help you decide just how much to modify the program.

Pregnancy is not the time to start a new intense program or advance your current program. If you were a sedentary individual and would like to start exercising now that you are pregnant, you can, with permission from your doctor, start a low level cardiovascular exercise. Walking and/or light aerobics will be a good start.

Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant:

  • Less Weight Gain – Exercising helps you stay within the “healthy weight gain” range during your pregnancy.
  • Lower Risk of Gestational Diabetes – Gestational Diabetes can cause a preterm delivery or larger birth weight for your baby.
  • More Energy – A lot of women feel tired throughout their pregnancy. The endorphins produced during exercise can give you more energy and make you feel better throughout the day.
  • Mental Health – Being pregnant can be the most exciting time of your life, but the unknown of what is to come can be scary at times. Exercising helps alleviate anxiety and stress, allowing you to relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

Things to Consider:

  •  Heart Rate – It is recommended you keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute.
  • Fall Risk – Avoid exercises that have a high fall risk, such as riding a bike, rollerblading, skiing, etc.
  • Body Temperature – Exercise in a cooler climate and stay hydrated to help keep your body temperature down. This is especially important in your first trimester.
  • Exercising on your Back – Lying on your back can put pressure on major vessels and lower your blood pressure.
  • Increased elasticity in ligaments – Be careful not to make any sudden cuts or movements. The hormones produced during your pregnancy will increase the elasticity of your ligaments, increasing your risk of injury.

The most important piece of advice is you MUST listen to your body when you are doing any physical activity while pregnant. If you are not feeling right or have pain, stop exercising and consult your physician. Your health and your baby’s health are the most important factor in all of this.”

Thanks Patra!  If you’re looking for more info or have questions directly for Patra, she can be reached on instragram at @coachpatra

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