PART I: Exercise
One of the most rewarding yet challenging times in a woman’s life is when she carries and gives birth to a newborn baby. While pregnancy brings so much excitement, it can also cause a few hiccups (no pun intended). Luckily, physical therapy can safely treat injuries related to pregnancy during and/or after pregnancy.
Physical therapists are movement specialists that can teach you how to maintain alignment and recruit adequate core stability as your joints become more flexible. A supervised, structured exercise program consisting of aerobic and resistance training has been shown to have meaningful, beneficial effects on the severity of pain in pregnancy. Contact The Fit Institute to schedule an appointment today.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages pregnant women (who are without contraindications) should engage in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 20–30 min/day on most days of the week.
Please keep you and your baby safe, and always consider the following recommendations:
1. Always obtain medical clearance before participation in exercise.
2. Your exercise prescription should be individualized, following a thorough examination and assessment to meet your goals.
3. Recommended maximum heart rate limit is < 155 bpm. Levels of higher intensity may be prescribed on an individual basis, depending on your fitness level before pregnancy.
4. Walking, cycling, swimming, and stretching are recommended as low-impact activities.
5. Lifting light -to -moderate weights is encouraged to develop or maintain strength, but the Valsalva Maneuver (holding your breathe) should always be avoided.
6. Do not exercise lying on your back after the 4th month of pregnancy.
7. Participation in competitive sports is acceptable during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy if risk is accepted, but contact sports should be avoided thereafter.
8. Bouncing, jerky movements should first be reduced, and then avoided during the 3rd trimester.
9. Do not perform exercises that could cause a loss of balance putting you and your baby at risk of injury.
10. Do not deliberately reach a point of exhaustion during endurance or weight training.
11. Avoid high-altitude activities and scuba diving. Avoid extreme temperatures.
12. Eat an additional 150–300 calories/day and drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise.
[Adapted from the Guidelines for Exercise During Pregnancy in Healthy Women and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists]