Exercise and pregnancy….good for you?

Image by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay

There’s an old wives tale out there. Here it is.

In the past women were encouraged to reduce their usual levels of exertion during pregnancy. Expectant moms were encouraged to “play it safe” by well meaning but misinformed loved ones, and inaccurate information on various websites. Outdated medical advice is still out there suggesting pregnant teens/women avoid elevating their heart rate and avoid many types of exercise.

But, this could not be further from the truth if you are a healthy teen/woman! Now, we know better!

Guidelines from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology suggest women/teens with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.

Benefits of Physical Activity During Pregnancy

• increase overall fitness
• improve posture, reduce back pain
• fewer muscle tensions
• prevent excess weight gain
• improve balance and coordination
• improve sleep
• improve self-esteem
• prepares the body for birth

In a nutshell, the main recommendations for exercise for a healthy pregnant teen/woman are:

• do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week
• spread that exercise over at least three (hopefully more) days a week (for example, 150 minutes divided by 7 days is about 20 minutes a day)
• enjoy a variety of aerobic and resistance-training activities
• and finally, there’s no bad time to start the right physical activity during pregnancy

Not sure?

Check with your health care team if you are uncertain or if you haven’t exercised in ages. If you’ve never trained for a triathlon, this isn’t the time to start. Do what’s right for your fitness level. Talk to an exercise specialist or your physician about different sports or activities you enjoy doing.

Most Importantly – two reminders

Listen to your body! The overall goal of exercising during pregnancy is to get the full benefits of exercising without causing harmful impact to the mother and fetus.

And, feeling overwhelmed? There’s so much to do during pregnancy that it’s easy to hit overload. Learn to accept yourself first….you might want to check out another blog here.

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