We’re going to be talking about a very much requested topic exercise and pregnancy all about how to maximize the benefit for mom and baby while also not putting either a wrist, so stay tuned for what’s coming next. We’ve had so many questions about exercise and pregnancy is it safe what should i do how often what are the benefits anyway .It’s completely understandable why there’s so many questions about this and there’s a lot of information out there on the internet about exercise and pregnancy .Some of it’s good evidence-based and some of it’s not so today we want to give you the facts so that you are equipped with the most evidence-based and up-to-date information about exercise in pregnancy .So you can maximize the health benefits for you and for baby.
Before we get to that let’s hear an update on what is happening with baby’s development during. Week 11. Baby is already starting to look like well a tiny human and is about the size of a lime or four centimeters in length by this time baby is developing eyebrows and has started to pee。 It’s really interesting in that the pea actually makes up most of the amniotic fluid that surrounds baby that baby swallows and breathes in to help develop the lungs the most important take-home message from this episode.
Is this physical activity in pregnancy is the number one best thing you can do to help reduce pregnancy complications and to improve maternal physical and mental health .So that’s a big statement but it is 100 percent true ,so exercise and pregnancy isn’t just something.
That we should think as a nice thing to do but rather as a must-do critical therapy to improve outcomes for mom and baby yeah so we’re going to start this episode by sharing with you some of the incredible things that exercise when done appropriately can help to do for mom and baby and we’re going to show you what the evidence says about how to maximize those benefits and so for all of this we’re going to bring information directly from the american college of obstetrics and gynecology and also a huge review of 675 unique scientific articles ,and that was used to formulate the canadian guidelines for physical activity and pregnancy。So by following these guidelines.
It is associated with some amazing benefits yeah and specifically for a baby there can be fewer complications like being large for gestational age and in terms of maternal benefits there is an association with a decreased risk of preeclampsia gestational hypertension gestational. Diabetes there is a decreased risk of needing a c-section or an operative delivery and there it also lowers the risk of urinary incontinence as well as excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
It helps with that weight loss after pregnancy , this list of benefits just keeps on going for things ,like improved blood sugar control for moms who are pregnant decreased total weight gain during pregnancy and also a decreased risk for depression during pregnancy or a decreased severity of depressive symptoms experienced .
So we of course know all of these amazing benefits of exercise and pregnancy,but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to do . So as a partner in pregnancy,my job is now to be encouraging and enabling for us to both go and be physically active together.
Oftentimes it means hey let’s go make sure we get our workout in for the day,but sometimes we’re still human and it means yes of course i’ll drive you to go get ice cream.
So what are the actual recommendations for exercise and pregnancy ?so to make it as simple as possible ，we’re going to keep our list to 6：
Recommendation number 1 :All women without contra indications should be physically active throughout pregnancy .So women with these absolute contraindications can still participate in their activities of daily living but should not do more vigorous activity .If you’re a woman with a relative contraindication it’s good to sit down with your ob provider to discuss the advantages versus disadvantages of participating in more vigorous exercise.
Recommendation number 2：pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week to achieve those clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions and complications that we were talking about .If you’re wondering how do you classify moderate intensity there’s a couple of good ways to think about this .The first is just as simple as measuring your heart rate and this table can show you some heart rate specific guides for measuring intensity of a workout in pregnancy another good method is the talk test.And as this implies if you’re not able to comfortably carry on a conversation doing the level of activity you’re at you should try to reduce just a little bit，so you can do this .
Recommendation number 3： That physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of three days per week， but daily activity is strongly encouraged 。
Recommendation number 4: Women should work to incorporate both activities of aerobic exercise and resistance training to achieve greater health benefits there’s been.Some big scientific studies and systematic reviews that have showed an improved health benefit in pregnancy when combining resistance and aerobic exercise ,as opposed to just doing aerobic exercise alone .There’s also some evidence that adding yoga or gentle stretching can potentially add additional benefits as well.
Recommendation number 5： Pelvic floor muscle training also known as kegel exercises ,can be performed on a daily basis to help reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Some studies show that prenatal pelvic floor muscle training can reduce your risk of prenatal urinary incontinence by about 50 and the risk of postnatal urinary incontinence by about 35 。Now the strength of the studies for this recommendation is weaker than the ones we have done before ,but the benefit can be improved by having the proper training in how to perform that pelvic floor muscle training .
Recommendation number 6 :Women who experience nausea whiteheadedness or feeling unwell while lying on their back during exercise should work to avoid that position ,now this is something that many of you women who are later in pregnancy may know well ,and that a large uterus can actually compress some of the blood flow returning to the heart while lying on your back.If you’re feeling unwell while lying on your back,work to find a new position just because i’m sure many of you are wondering i want to let you know that physical activity is not associated with any of these negative.Outcomes miscarriage stillbirth neonatal death preterm birth preterm rupture of membranes ，neonatal hypoglycemia low birth weight birth defects induction of labor or birth complications.
If you don’t have one of the contraindications,we talked about earlier don’t let the fear of these things keep you from exercising now, if you’re pregnant and not currently getting the 150 minutes of recommended moderate intensity exercise each week,that’s okay but the recommendation is that you work progressively towards that goal.If you’re one of those amazing mamas who is already really physically active,you’re running five miles a day lifting weights going to spin class that is awesome keep it up, but also keep in mind that you may need to modify your physical activity as your pregnancy progresses.There may be times when following those recommendations is just not possible because of fatigue or pregnancy discomforts,so the recommendation is to do what you can and then get back to those six recommendations when you are able .
So now that you understand all these amazing benefits of exercising pregnancy and know whether or not it’s safe for you to do.So your next question might be well what exercises should i do we want you to know that there’s no magic exercise or best exercise your goal is to get those 150 minutes of exercise every week. Split over at least three days of the week exercise in pregnancy , easier said than done sometimes i found for me if i didn’t work out in the morning or early afternoon, it didn’t happen uh because by the end of the day ,there was no way i was pulling my buns off the couch.
Other things that helped i got a couple new sports bras to accommodate the girls ,i have a like a support belt a pregnancy support belt for later in pregnancy ,when your belly is a little bigger a lot of my friends have said that’s helpful make sure you’re drinking lots of water。don’t overheat yourself if it’s 90 degrees outside， don’t work out outside and ultimately listen to your body and try to get that exercise in when you can.
We’re sure you’ve noticed there is an ever-growing market for pregnancy-specific workouts and plans and while these can be great and especially helpful ,if you need a place to start ,they are not absolutely necessary ,remember the goal here is to be active , can be as simple as walking on an incline riding a stationary, bike, yoga pilates, swimming ,combined with a little bit of resistance or weight training .Now if you are new to exercise,you want to start out slowly and then gradually increase the amount you’re exercising ,start with as little as five minutes a day and every week add five more minutes until you can exercise for 30 minutes a day.
So your body goes through a lot of amazing changes during pregnancy , some of these are really important to keep in mind when choosing exercises. The first off is some hormones made during pregnancy actually cause some of your joints to be a bit more relaxed well ，this becomes incredibly important while giving birth to a human a couple months down the road， it can also cause some of your mobile joints to be a bit more loose and more prone to injury .
So for this reason it’s good to avoid jerky bouncy high impact motions, if possible you’re also going to notice that your balance is going to change you’re going to have that change in increasing weight in the front of your belly from that growing belly ,so you’re going to notice that your center of gravity is a little different，and that places new stresses on your muscles and joints especially in your lower back and your pelvis, it’s a good idea to just be aware of that change in your center of gravity and being off balance do some stretching and be self-aware of your body changes you may also notice that you’re a bit more shorter breath than usual as breathing changes during pregnancy.
This is for two big factors one is the oxygen demand of your body increases and also later in pregnancy ，you’re gonna have a uterus that’s actually getting in the way of taking a full deep breath ，so if you’re experiencing this know that it could be very normal ,now there are a few exercises you should avoid , example you don’t want to do anything where you could have contact trauma with your belly, so nothing no basketball no wrestling no boxing football nothing like that ,giving up wrestling was tough for her，it’s also good not to go skydiving， unless you absolutely have to avoid anything where you could fall again you don’t want to fall on your belly。
So no downhill skiing surfing riding a horse etc, exercises like hot yoga or hot pilates are probably good to avoid too as they can lead to dehydration, overheating no scuba diving in pregnancy and also try not to exercise at altitudes higher than six thousand feet elevation,unless you already live at a high altitude, so whether you are a seasoned athlete or a beginner ，these are some warning signs to watch out for when you’re exercising 。 If you notice any of them you should stop and call your ob gyn things like vaginal bleeding ,shortness of breath before starting exercise or dizziness or headache or faintness during chest pain muscle weakness calf pain or calf swelling . If you start having regular painful contractions or notice a gush of fluid from your vagina， it is time to call your ob gyn。
Summarize everything up from this week,being active with exercise in pregnancy is the number one thing you can do to reduce maternal complications and improve maternal health and outcomes while also helping baby along the way,you want to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week it’s best when you exercise at least three times a week ,you incorporate cardio as well as resistance training.So if you aren’t active already ,start now,even a little bit now is better than nothing at all,so that is a wrap for us this week hopefully that is everything you need to know about exercise and pregnancy ,but if you have any questions or want to know about anything we didn’t cover please leave a comment below we would love to chat and don’t forget to hit subscribe ,go get a great workout bye guys.
We’re doctors but not your doctors,anything we’ve said in this article is for education or entertainment purposes only， it is not medical advice ，any specific medical questions you have should be directed to your provider，thanks.