The Active Lifestyle
Spending nine months resting at home while pregnant is becoming a thing of the past. Nowadays, more and more women stay active and practice mild exercises to help reduce the stresses of pregnancy, improve sleep, and to boost their overall health. Although many would disagree with running throughout pregnancy, being active actually helps ease pregnancy symptoms and prepares the body for birth. The benefits of moving through the trimesters can be very beneficial and now many doctors advise their patients to go ahead and adopt a more dynamic lifestyle.
Is it safe?
As long as you’re in good health and there is no risk of complications, then it’s safe for you to run during pregnancy. Exercise has become an essential part of our lives as it greatly improves our physical and mental health. Studies show that exercising improves the health of both the mother and baby. It lessens back pain, prevents excessive weight gain, and reduces delivery complications as well as time spent in labor. It would be far more problematic if the expecting moms stays inactive during pregnancy, gains unnecessary weight, and develops gestational diabetes. The recommendations for staying active during pregnancy have changed over the years but with the latest studies being done on the benefits, it’s concluded that pregnant women can do moderate exercises for 30 minutes or more every day.
One activity that is safe and accepted to be practiced during pregnancy is running. However, it’s suggested that all pregnancy women should first discuss their physical activity levels with their healthcare provider to ensure proper transition and to review any conditions that may prohibit exercise. If your healthcare provider gives you the green light, start doing moderate running and continue running at your normal pace for as long as it feels comfortable. Don’t forget to warm up for 10 minutes by stretching and walking before running. However, be aware of your body’s signs and don’t ignore any cues of discomfort, especially if you’re new to running.
What are the benefits?
Staying active in pregnancy can boost your mood and energy levels. It has shown to help with sleep, promotes healthy weight gain and maintains muscle conditioning. Many studies arrived to the conclusion that running through pregnancy can lower the heart rate of the fetus, decreases the symptoms of nausea, heartburn, insomnia, varicose veins, leg cramps, as well as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Are there any basic exercise guidelines for pregnant women to follow?
Here's what you need to know to stay safe and healthy on the road to becoming an active mom-to-be:
● Staying hydrated is crucial for pregnant women who exercise. You should always hydrate, especially in the summer days. Every runner should hydrate properly as dehydration can lead to premature contractions. Instead of drinking water before you run, you need to have a bottle with you while you run and drink every time you get thirsty. Plan a route with bathroom access.
● Eating protein-rich foods can support muscle repair and restoration. Pregnant women need 40% more protein and should get at least 30 grams of protein at most meals. You could add extra slices of roasted chicken in your salad, drink a glass of milk instead of water, and include eggs or Greek yogurt in your breakfast menu.
● Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. While running, women should be able to speak without gasping between words. If you cannot talk normally while exercising, then it’s a sign you’re over-exerting yourself and should slow down on your activity.
● Wear comfortable shoes that will give your feet support and stability. Get running shoes that are cushioned for shock absorption and are flexible at the ball of the foot. The proper shoes should support your ankles and arches and fit you well.
● Wear a maternity support belt. Women who stay active throughout pregnancy are highly recommended to get a maternity belt. Pregnancy belts provide quality support that make pregnancy more comfortable, reduce pregnancy pains, and offer gentle support when you’re active. Support belts will compress the abdomen, support your uterus and reduce any discomfort from movement during physical exercise.
● Wear loose-fitting clothing made of light, breathable material to help you stay cool.
● Consume enough calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy (300 more calories per day than before you were pregnant) and your exercise program. Remember, now you’re eating for two. Make sure to account for the calories you’re burning, and that’s 100 calories per mile. Eat frequently and always keep carb-heavy snacks nearby that also have protein to keep you feeling energized. Try whole grain cereals or bars, a protein shake, and fresh fruit with almond butter.