Historically, expectant mothers were told to avoid exercise throughout their pregnancy. However, research now shows that exercise is safe, even if a woman did not exercise regularly before getting pregnant.
Exercise during pregnancy has numerous short & long term benefits for mom & baby
Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to decrease the incidence of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (hypertension) and excessive gestational weight gain (Pivarnik et al. (2013). In addition, babies who are born to mothers who exercise during pregnancy are at a reduced risk of being large for gestational age, which is important to note since research now suggests an association between large for gestational age and chronic health conditions later in life (Baird et al., 2005; Boney et al., 2005).
So how do you determine the appropriate frequency, intensity and type of exercise throughout your pregnancy?
The first step is to make an appointment with your Copeman Kinesiologist, so they can help you determine if there are any contraindications prior to you starting exercise. Next, they will help you create a personalized program and modify it as your pregnancy progresses.
In general, most exercise programs should follow the FITT Principle:
FREQUENCY: Three to four days a week
INTENSITY: Light to moderate*
TIME: 30 – 60 minutes
TYPE: Combination of cardiovascular and resistance training
*The specifics of your program may differ depending on your starting fitness level – women who exercise regularly may be able to workout at a higher intensity than those just starting an exercise program.
Also, it’s important to note that exercises will change from trimester to trimester due to the growth of the baby and other physiological changes, so it’s important to:
A) refrain from performing any exercises on your back after the first trimester;
B) refrain from explosive/powerful movements and plyometric exercises as pregnant women have an increase in joint laxity – leaving them at an increased chance of injury and
C) ensure proper posture (neutral spine) throughout all exercises.
The bottom line? Exercise during pregnancy is important!
Exercise during pregnancy is one of the best activities you can do to support you and your baby’s health.