Regular exercise is an important part to overall health. During pregnancy, regular exercise is still important, but consulting your doctor can be beneficial prior to starting a program to determine any risks.
During pregnancy, added weight gain puts excess stress on the feet, knees and low back. The additional weight changes the centre of gravity and creates an increased curve in the low back. The abdominal muscles are lengthened, placing increased stress on the lumbar spine and sacro-iliac joints. The increased weight and change of the centre of gravity causes the feet and legs to work overtime to maintain balance.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy:
- Reducing weight gain during and facilitating weight loss after pregnancy
- Promote sleep and an overall feeling of well being
- Relieve and prevent low back pain
- Increase flexibility and improve posture
- Strengthen muscles to prepare for delivery
- Improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles to prevent urinary incontinence.
Exercising should be done within your comfort zone. Stop exercising and consult your doctor if you have signs of pain, dizziness, excessive fatigue or vaginal bleeding. Low-impact exercises are recommended to maintain cardiovascular health. Avoid high impact activities like jumping. Light weights, bands and exercise balls can be used during pregnancy. Swimming, walking and yoga can be beneficial for your overall health.
If you are at all unsure of what you are able to do, consult your doctor prior to commencing any exercise.