Exercising while TTC & Pregnancy

Whether you already have a fitness regimen in place that works for you, or you have been a bit less active than you could be, the time leading up to pregnancy is ideal for establishing a fitness routine that can be practiced throughout the duration of your pregnancy and help you to stay fit while carrying. In recent years, it seems that certain mothers have come under fire for fitness regimens that are deemed “too extreme.” Images of mothers with six-pack abs and the ability to deadlift extremely heavy weights have gone viral. While everyone has an opinion on what is best for the mother and one advice may vary from another, physiotherapist Alison Bourne recommends avoiding any exercises that could result in falls or jolts, or injuries to the torso. Waterskiing, horseback riding, and other potentially risky exercises are best avoided during pregnancy, especially during the second half of your term.1 Do not avoid physical activity altogether. Of course, that does not mean you have to avoid physical activity altogether – in fact, exercising both before and during pregnancy can help your body cope with weight gain during pregnancy, better prepare you for the physical challenges of labor, and make it easier to get back in shape after giving birth. Bourne recommends exercises such as Pilates, which can strengthen the pelvic floor, and aerobic exercises that will get your blood flowing and heartrate elevate d without hurting your joints, such as dancing, cycling, and swimming. In particular, swimming is beneficial for pregnant women, due to the fact that it can relieve swollen feet.2 The Mayo Clinic recommends walking for beginners, and states that 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week is suitable for most pregnant women. In terms of strength training, the Clinic advises against the lifting of “very heavy weights,” and recommends watching for danger signs such as headache, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and vaginal bleeding.3 If there is already a sport or exercise that you did prior to TTC, then it is fine to continue doing that activity while TTC, even if it is strenuous or physically demanding. However, you can also prepare yourself for the exercise you will be doing during pregnancy by decreasing the intensity and switching to a milder routine. If you do not exercise regularly, then finding a physical activity that you enjoy doing can be one good way to stay healthy and prepare your body for pregnancy.     [avafootnote]

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  1. Bourne, Alison. (2013 April). What exercise is suitable both before and during pregnancy? BabyCentre. Retrieved November 3, 2015, from http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x545270/what-exercise-is-suitable-both-before-and-during-pregnancy
  2. Bourne, see above.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff (2013 July 10). Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let’s move! Retrieved November 03, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896?pg=1

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