Congratulations, if you are reading these lines right now, you are probably pregnant, moreover, a pregnant woman who understands the importance of exercise during pregnancy! Yes, exercise should be done during pregnancy, but how?
In this article, we have explained what to consider when preparing an exercise program during pregnancy, in 11 steps!
1. Your starting point is the doctor’s office
How to exercise during pregnancy, the best person to answer the question of your doctor. Although most pregnant women do not mind doing sports, this is a situation that is shaped by the physical health of the expectant mother. Therefore, what you need to do before you put on your sneakers and start exercising is to get your doctor’s approval on this matter.
While getting approval for sports from your doctor, you can also ask if there is a type of exercise that he or she recommends specifically for you. If you have a regular exercise program before pregnancy, be sure to tell them and ask if you can continue in the same way. Maybe he can recommend you to modify it with some changes.
2. Know your changing body and give it what you want
Know that your exercise program should also change with your body. When your sense of balance is disturbed, you will probably need to slow down to change your schedule. Also, if you’ve been watching the same program for a long time, be prepared for what you’re doing to make you feel different.
As your pregnancy progresses, as your joints and ligaments relax, you may begin to feel more pressure on your hips and knees while walking. After the first trimester, you should avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back or stand still. Such movements can affect the blood circulation.
3. Start sports slowly and calmly during pregnancy
If you’re new to this, start slow, take it slow. If you have decided to introduce exercise into your life with pregnancy and you do not have a regular movement habit, do not make a hot start such as 3 km jogging or hours of walking and exercise from the first day! Such exciting starts often lead to muscle and joint stiffness, not fitness. On top of that, it destroys all enthusiasm for exercise.
The best start for the first day can be 10 minutes of warm-up exercises, then 5 more minutes of brisk work and finally 5 minutes of stretching. After a few days, as you get used to it, you can add another 5 minutes for each phase (warm-up-work-stretching). You can go on like this until you get 30 minutes or more as long as you feel good.
4. Pay attention to fluid consumption
Drink fluids before exercising to avoid dehydration. Even if you’re not thirsty, don’t neglect it. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you may have waited too long. For every half hour of a moderate-intensity exercise program, you should consume an extra 150-200 calories and drink a full glass of water. It may be wise to meet your extra calorie needs with quality foods containing calcium and protein.
In hot weather and when you sweat a lot, you may need to drink more water. Do not take more than half a liter of fluid at a time. It would be good to start drinking water 30-45 minutes before starting the exercise.
5. Be sure to have a snack
Before starting a pregnant exercise program, have a light snack that will keep you full and increase your energy. Especially if you’ve burned a lot of calories, snack on high-quality, high-quality calories that will make up for the calorie pattern later on.
6. Have a heavy opening and closing
Each time, start slow and finish as slow as you started. Warm-ups may seem boring at first, but warming up is an integral part of any exercise program and the most important part. It ensures that the heart and blood circulation are not suddenly loaded. It also reduces the risk of damage to the more fragile muscles and joints when cold (especially when pregnant).
You should not stop suddenly after completing the exercise program. It is best to return to the initial slow pace and finish with cool-downs. Stopping suddenly causes blood to stay in the muscles and not enough blood to other parts of the body and to the baby.
Problems such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, palpitations may occur. So after jogging or jogging, walk slowly for 5-10 minutes. Or getting out of the water without light exercise after a quick swim workout. Stretches are suitable for punctuating any exercise.
7. Keep yourself cool
Keep yourself cool. A pregnant woman should avoid any exercise that raises her body temperature by more than 1.5 degrees. Overheating causes blood to be drawn from the uterus and rushed to the skin to be used for its cooling function.
Therefore, avoid saunas, steam baths, hammams or hot baths. Do not exercise outside in very hot or humid weather or in a stuffy, very hot place.
8. Don’t overlook the time and your pulse
Too little exercise isn’t effective, and too much can be overwhelming. A complete workout can take between 30 and 60 minutes from warming up to cooling down. But make sure to keep the difficulty level and the energy you expend between light and medium.
Know that your heart rate should never go above 140 per minute. You can keep it under control by using heart rate watches. When it comes to 130-140, you can slow down your tempo until it drops to 90.
9. Be consistent
If you cannot spare 30 or 60 minutes a day for uninterrupted exercise, you can divide this time into two, three or even four short programs throughout the day. This is a very useful way to strengthen your muscles.
No matter how you complete your pregnancy exercise program on a daily basis, but be consistent and regular. If you exercise 4 days a week and don’t do anything the next week, your muscles can let go and get out of discipline. Have as light-paced schedule as you can do each day, but as long as you do it regularly. If you can’t do anything, try to practice warm-up and stretching exercises every day.
10. Make sure you do everything in moderation
Never exercise until you are exhausted. There are several ways to tell if you’re overdoing your pregnancy fitness program. If there is a feeling of pain, pain or strain, there is a problem. It’s okay to sweat a little, but if the sweats are pouring, you need to slow down.
If you can’t keep talking to the person next to you while exercising, you should slow down.
You should adjust your working tempo so that your breathing becomes more frequent than normal, but does not prevent you from speaking and singing.
After exercise, you should feel very happy and energetic, not exhausted. Therefore, if you need sleep afterward, you can understand that it is heavy.
11. Lying on your back
After the fourth month, do not exercise while lying flat on your back. The weight of the growing uterus can put pressure on the main walls, restricting circulation. Therefore, not sleeping on your back is the most important movement during pregnancy.
12. Listen to your body, know when to stop
- When your body tells you “I’m tired” listen and throw in the towel. You may need to call your doctor for serious signals.
- Pain and soreness in the hip, chest, waist, head, pelvis or any other part of the body,
- Cramps that do not go away after you stop exercising
- uterine contraction,
- palpitation ,
- Difficulty walking
- Losing muscle control
- sudden headache ,
- Increased swelling of the face, hands, feet,
- amniotic fluid leak,
- vaginal bleeding ,
- Inability to feel fetal movements after the twenty-eighth week is a signal that you should call your doctor.
13. Decrease the tempo in the last trimester
During the second and third trimesters, you may see performance and productivity decrease day by day. It’s normal. Most women may need a little slacking in the last trimester. Especially in the 9th month, warming up and stretching, a brisk walk or water exercises are more than enough.
Therefore, the exercise program for pregnant women should be lightened in the last trimester. Talk to your doctor again about the exercise program you agreed on at the beginning and update and lighten the program according to the last 3 months.
14. Never be still
Sitting for long periods without a break causes blood to pool in the leg veins. This can cause your feet and ankles to swell. If your job requires a lot of sitting, sitting for hours watching TV, or traveling for long hours, find a solution. Get up almost every hour, walk for 5-10 minutes and spread your legs. Let the blood circulation.
You can also do movements that are good for circulation while sitting in place. For example, you can do a few deep breathing exercises. You can flex your feet and wiggle your toes. You can raise your hands regularly and clenched your fists. You can try to tighten your abdominal and hip muscles.