Afraid of harming themselves and their baby, expectant mothers refuse physical activity, and this is not always right. An inactive lifestyle complicates childbirth, provokes obesity and depression. During pregnancy, you can play sports, but with some restrictions. In the article we tell where the border of rationality is in sports, and how to train safely in order to benefit, not harm.
Is it possible to do sports during pregnancy?
Scientists have proven that moderate physical activity is safe and beneficial during pregnancy, if there are no contraindications from a doctor. Restrictions depend on the characteristics of the body, the course of pregnancy, lifestyle before pregnancy and the physical form of the woman.
During pregnancy, the female body changes hormonally. Weight is gained, the center of gravity shifts and the load on the spine increases, fatigue sets in faster. Because of this, coordination worsens, the risk of falls and injuries increases. Therefore, only moderate exercise is allowed during pregnancy.
While waiting for the baby, forget about weight loss and personal records. Sport during pregnancy is aimed at improving well-being, maintaining muscle tone and psychological relief. Physical activity within reasonable limits is good for the health of mother and baby:
- good for the functioning of the heart and blood vessels
- maintain muscle tone and reduce spasms
- improve sleep
- help control weight and reduce leg swelling
- improve emotional state
- reduce the risk of diabetes and hypertension
Physical activity is allowed for healthy women with a normal pregnancy. Some professional athletes continue to train during pregnancy in a lightweight version so as not to disturb the usual mode of operation of the body. The exact answer about the possibility of training can only be given by a doctor!
Which sport is not suitable for pregnant women
It is important to note that pregnant women should not engage in traumatic and extreme sports. Any activity where you can fall, hit, collide is excluded. Physical activity lying on your back, jumping and shock loads, weight lifting, intense and long workouts are prohibited.
You can’t play sports with large pressure drops and lack of oxygen: training in the mountains at an altitude of more than 1800 meters and underwater sports with deep diving are excluded. Loads in hot, cold and rainy weather are undesirable, when there is a risk of overheating or freezing.
For how long and how often can a pregnant woman train
Experts recommend starting physical activity at the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd trimester. By the 2nd trimester, the body manages to adjust to a new “mode”, toxicosis passes, the risk of miscarriage decreases, the small size of the abdomen allows you to train. The optimal time to start physical activity is between 9 and 12 weeks of pregnancy up to 38-39 weeks.
For different countries the guidelines for pregnant women give different recommendations on the duration and frequency of physical activity. In Canada, they advise exercising for 15-30 minutes 3-4 times a week, in Denmark they recommend exercising for half an hour daily, in the USA they advise exercising 2.5 hours a week, distributing the load evenly.
All guidelines forbid intense training, many exclude running. The intensity of classes is determined by the pulse: heart rate should be within 60-70% of the maximum value. The intensity can be determined without measuring the pulse: at this pace, you can calmly speak in sentences, and not in jerky phrases.
How to exercise during pregnancy
To ensure that sports during pregnancy benefit both mother and baby, follow these recommendations:
- Consult with a gynecologist. Start exercising only with the permission of a specialist. All physical activities should be under the supervision of doctors.
- Wear comfortable clothes: leggings and nursing tops.
- Follow a specific training regimen. Only llight short workouts are allowed. On average, exercise is allowed from 9-12 weeks of pregnancy. Start with regular 10-minute sessions, gradually getting used to the load. Before training, be sure to warm up, after – walk and restore breathing. No sudden movements or jumps.
- Create a safe environment. For training, choose a flat surface, do it during daylight hours. A park or stadium will do. Classes on the street should take place in warm weather, without heat and cold, without precipitation and strong winds.
- Work out in comfortable clothes. Choose maternity sportswear that is loose-fitting and doesn’t restrict movement. Use a special bandage to support the back muscles, compression stockings and a special supportive top.
- Exercise only when you feel good. Watch your heart rate: it should not exceed 60-70% of the maximum value. If alarms appear, stop exercising and consult a doctor.
- Drink water before you feel thirsty. Maintain a water-salt balance during sports to avoid dehydration. Take care of the opportunity to visit the toilet during training.
- Light aerobic activity is allowed: walking, Nordic walking, swimming, fitness and yoga for pregnant women under the supervision of a trainer. When exercising, take care of your well-being.