Impact of Exercise during Pregnancy – Positives & Negatives

Positive Impacts

Exercise during pregnancy helps to alleviate some of the common problems of pregnancy.

It improves blood circulation. This helps prevent problems common during pregnancy like constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps and swelling of the ankles.

It prevents back pain. Exercise helps in strengthening the muscles that support the back.

More energy to make it through the day. Pregnancy often leaves you feeling less energetic, but regular exercise can help you with more energy to continue through the rest of your day.

Keeps you from gaining weight. Losing weight gained during pregnancy is hard. By maintaining your fitness level during pregnancy, you are less likely to gain excess weight.

Exercise also helps to maintain your muscle tone and strength. Strengthened cardiovascular system will help increase your endurance and stronger muscles will allow you to accomplish tasks without feeling easily tired.

Helps you sleep better. Most women have some trouble sleeping through the night by the end of their pregnancies but exercising on a regular basis at least three hours before you go to bed will help you work off excess energy and will tire you enough into a deeper, more restful slumber.

Improves your mood. It can also lessen mood swings, improve your self-image, and allow you to feel a sense of control.

Helps prepare you for childbirth. It has been seen that the fitness level of the mother can result in a shorter labor, fewer medical interventions and less exhaustion during labor. Being in shape will not decrease the pain, but it will help give you the endurance needed to get through labor.

Concerns about Exercising

For most pregnant women, exercise is very beneficial. However, for women who have a high-risk pregnancy or are at risk for pre-term labor, exercise should be done under the doctor’s supervision to make sure that it poses no additional threats to your pregnancy.

The blood flow shifts away from your internal organs. When you exercise the blood flow moves away from your uterus to give your muscles, lungs and heart more oxygen.

If exercising too strenuously oxygen can be restricted from your uterus. Make sure to stick within a recommended heart rate level to ensure that your baby is getting the oxygen he/she needs.

Centre of balance shifts. As your pregnancy progresses, your centre of balance shifts, making falls more likely. Indulge in exercise like swimming, walking or low-impact aerobics that do not put you at additional risk to slip or fall.

Avoid activities like horseback riding, mountain climbing and contact sports like football that could put you at risk of an injury or a fall.

Exercise causes an increase in your body temperature. This can affect the baby’s development. Be cautious while exercising in hot weather and always make sure to take plenty of fluids when exercising. Your body temperature should stay below 101°F.

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