Let’s make one thing clear: exercise is safe and encouraged during pregnancy for all women without contraindications.
This includes women who are currently active, were not active before pregnancy, and those with gestational diabetes. Yes, even if you did not have an exercise routine pre-pregnancy, you can start when you become pregnant!
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:
- Reduced maternal weight gain
- Reduced risk of gestational diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Less likely to need a C-section
- Less likely to have fetal macrosomia (baby greater than 8 pounds)
- Reduced risk of postpartum depression
- May reduce length of 1st and 2nd stages of labor
With all those amazing benefits, what is the hold up?
We find that often our main source of exercise given to expectant mothers comes from family, friends and other acquaintances – these people mean really well, but may not be giving the best advice! There have been questions surrounding the safety of exercise while pregnant and very little information from providers. Fortunately, we are seeing more and more emerging research giving us the answers we need (and have needed for quite some time!)
So, let’s set the record straight.
Exercise recommendations during pregnancy are:
- Accumulate 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
- Be active at least 3 times per week
- Incorporate both resistance and aerobic training
As you progress through pregnancy, we need to make modifications and scale as your baby and placenta grow and take up more space and energy. There are general considerations for each trimester we like to follow, and let’s dive in.
Exercise considerations during each trimester:
- First trimester: no contraindications to exercise unless a “red light” symptom is present, no contact sports, and may need to modify exercise due to fatigue and morning sickness
- Second trimester: growing baby bump, no valsalva or bearing down, loss of anterior core integrity, focus on breathing mechanics and coordination of pelvic floor, note that if this is not your first pregnancy change happens faster
- Third trimester: pelvic floor has to adapt to rapid growth at quick rate, baby gains half a pound per week after week 32, most modifications are to weight and range of motion, listen to your body and prioritize rest as needed
What are red light symptoms? These are symptoms that, if experienced, warrant cessation of exercise and a call to your OB if the problem is not already being managed.
Red Light Symptoms:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Ruptured cervix
- Pre-eclampsia (medical emergency)
- Uncontrolled gestational diabetes, hypertension or thyroid issue
No red light symptoms? You are good to go, mama! Current research tells us that there is no adverse effects to exercising vigorously throughout pregnancy. In fact, there are so many benefits for baby and mom! The most important consideration is to take the time to learn about your changing body, and finding what feels good to you.
For uncomplicated pregnancies, exercise is safe and encouraged. Move in a way that energizes you and modify when appropriate to keep moving through pregnancy. Get after it, you’ve got this!
If you are struggling with pelvic girdle pain or symptoms during pregnancy or postpartum, reach out to us today for a free consultation. Call 314-252-0504 or Contact Us Today for more information on how we can help you live your most active, pain-free life.