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Women are encouraged to do exercise when they are pregnant, because it will improve their pregnancy outcome. Some of the benefits of having exercises before and during pregnancy can lower the risk of having premature delivery. It can increase the weight of the baby and help to manage the stress due to pregnancy hormones. The bottom line is the exercise will help a pregnant woman do better emotionally and physically. However, during the stages of pregnancy, there are some exercises are not good for certain stages. The following are some guidelines that you can take to help you know what exercises you can or cannot do during certain stages of pregnancy:

Getting Pregnant

When you are trying to get pregnant, they are few sorts of exercises that you:

Do:

  • First of all, doing exercise is much recommended for everyone, especially when you are trying to get pregnant. When you are conceiving, you should prefer intermittent activity.
  • Start with a short warm-up, like five minutes or so by slow walking, this is very essential particularly when you are going to do vigorous exercise
  • If you need to perform a warm-up at the beginning, you also have to do a gradually declining activity, such as gentle stretching after doing a strenuous exercise
  • When you are performing the exercise, it is a good idea to keep checking your heart rate, because when you reach the peak of exercise, it should not exceed a maximum 150 beats per minute.
  • Drink liquids as much as possible before and after exercise to avoid dehydration. You can stop for few seconds to drink liquids.

Don’t's:

  • Avoid bouncy/jerky motions
  • Should not do extreme stretching exercises, due to the relaxation of connective tissue.
  • It is highly recommended to begin with physical activity of very high intensity if you have been in a sedentary lifestyle or job.
  • Do not do exercise if you are ill, or the weather becomes very hot and humid.
  • Do not continue your exercise if you notice something strange appear (unusual symptoms).

1st Trimester Exercise Guide

Do:

  • Aerobic exercise. This exercise can be any kind of exercise that can improve your heart rate and breathing, like swimming and fast walking. You can do the aerobic exercise few times in a week which lasts 20-30 minutes per session. This exercise will help you improve the fetus circulation, muscle strength and tone, and avoid venous stasis problems as well as excess weight.
  • Walking. When you do walking, you should wear proper shoes to provide appropriate good support. If you do this exercise in the right amount and weather, it can improve your health, as well as your little angel.
  • Swimming. This exercise gives you a cardiovascular exercise. During swimming exercise, your body also performs stretching and muscle toning which minimizes joint strain. You can swim 20 minutes, three times in a week to keep the shape of your body.
  • Relaxation techniques. This technique can help you focus and breath. Besides, it also works psychologically in your body by relieving everyday stress and training your mind to release emotional tension. In yoga, there are some popular styles that you can select, such as kundalini yoga and iyengar yoga. You may want to get some massage treatments. Knead and stroke your body little bit can make your tight muscle become more relaxed.
  • Kegel Exercises. This exercise can assist you to prepare the muscles of the pelvic floor for the stress of baby delivery. Then later on, it also helps your muscles return to their former shape after giving birth. In order to find your pelvic muscles, you need to consult with your doctor/nurse.
  • Weight Training. The benefits of this training are basically similar with other sorts of exercise. If you would like to do the training, you can either use training machines (like in health club) or free weights. But, you should remember you have to work out with lighter weights and see your doctor before you start any weight program. Take a 60-second rest between sets of repetitions.

Don’t's:

  • Avoid walking in hot/humid weather (avoid the risk of overheating)
  • It is good to do few yoga postures, but some other yoga postures are highly forbidden to perform, especially the ones that require you to lie flat on your back.
  • If you use weights during pregnancy, avoiding straining with your airway closed is good. Pregnant women usually do that unconsciously when they lift weight.

2nd trimester Exercise Guide:

4th Month

Do:

  • Doing weight training while seated can be a choice, because the baby and the placenta are growing, and the total blood volume has increased. They can cause dizziness and lightheaded when you stand.
  • You can do moderate running/jogging. However, you should make sure that you run on flat ground with very few obstacles because your uterus gets larger which makes you more imbalanced.
  • Yoga can still be performed in this stage of pregnancy. But, you need to do less extending and stretching postures. And you are also recommended to stay closer to the floor as you get bigger gradually and your joints become loosened that affect your balance.
  • Swimming is still allowed, but you should not get yourself too tired.

Donts:

  • You should avoid doing exercises that require you to lie on your back, such as sit-ups.
  • Do not perform any exercise that needs you to stand motionlessly for an extended period.
  • Though weight training while seated still can be performed, it is a lot better if you avoid this type of exercise after your first trimester, as it decreases the amount of blood flow to your kidney and uterus. And, it also reduces the amount of oxygenated blood for your baby and yourself.

5th Month

Do:

  • Yoga is definitely still recommended, but in this month, you have to find a special class for pregnant women. If you cannot find any class for this purpose, you may want to find a book of yoga poses that are meant for pregnant women.
  • Walking is still good, but please, be careful when you do this exercise.
  • Like walking and yoga, you still can do this exercise. However, you should swim for short periods of time, as you may not overexert yourself.

Donts:

  • Do not do too much walking, swimming, yoga that makes yourself become huffing and puffing. It is better if you have someone with you when you do this exercise.
  • Avoid exercises which require you to do extreme stretches.
  • Do not do any high-impact activities such as running and aerobics, as it puts a lot of stress on your joints which raise the risk of falling.

6th month

Do:

  • You are still able to perform yoga and weight training. However, in this stage, there are more ‘donts’, than ‘do’.

Donts:

  • You are at the end of your second trimester; therefore you are really required to get the extra support for your balance. Therefore, when you have to avoid yoga poses that stretch abdominal muscles that need you to lay on your back
  • When you are in weight training, you have to be careful to avoid blunt injury to the abdomen from dropping weight.

3rd Trimester Exercise Guide

Do:

  • Your pregnancy is going to reach its time, so you should be more careful when you do exercise. Walking 20-30 minutes every day will be a good choice.
  • There are few yoga poses that are good for this stage, such as Ardh Titli Asan which requires you to keep your legs outstretched.
  • The bottom line for this stage is to keep yourself dehydrated, eat very nutritious meals and don’t push yourself too hard!

Donts:

  • Don’t do any exercise that puts a strain on your back.

General Guide and Reminders

Some points above are the exercises that you should do and shouldn’t do during certain stages of your pregnancy. However, there are some general ideas of exercises that you really have to avoid, such as:

  • Any exercises that have a high risk of falling, like water skiing, gymnastics, horseback riding, etc.
  • Any sport that could make any trauma to your abdomen, like soccer, softball, basketball.
  • Do not go scuba diving while you’re pregnant. This type of exercise can increase the pressure to you and your baby, as the result, it could cause miscarriage, birth defect, or premature labor.
  • Do not exercise to a place at high altitude that is more than 6,000 feet as the higher the place is, the less oxygen your baby will get.
  • Besides, high temperature of weather, you should also avoid hot bath water, saunas, and the like.

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