Recommendations for Exercise in Pregnancy and Postpartum

 
 

There is no data in humans to indicate that pregnant women should limit exercise intensity and lower target heart rates because of potential adverse effects. For women who do not have any additional risks factors for adverse maternal or perinatal outcome, the following recommendations may be made.

1. During pregnancy, women can continue to exercise and derive health benefits even from mild-to-moderate exercise routines. Regular exercise (at least three times per week) is preferable to intermittent activity.

2. Women should avoid exercise in the supine position after the first trimester. Such a position is associated with decreased cardiac output in most pregnant women; because the remaining cardiac output will preferentially distribute away from the splanchnic beds (including the uterus) during vigorous exercise, such regimens are best avoided during pregnancy. Prolonged periods of motionless standing should also be avoided.

3. Women should be aware of the decreased oxygen available for aerobic exercise during pregnancy. They should be encouraged to modify the intensity of their exercise according to maternal symptoms. Pregnant women should stop exercising when fatigued and not exercise to exhaustion. Weight-bearing exercises may under some circumstances be continued at intensities similar to those prior to pregnancy throughout pregnancy. Non-weight-bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming will minimize the risk of injury and facilitate the continuation of exercise during pregnancy.

4. Morphologic changes in pregnancy should serve as a relative contraindication to types of exercise in which loss of balance could be detrimental to maternal and fetal well-being, especially in the third trimester. Further, any type exercise involving the potential for even mild abdominal trauma should be avoided.

5. Pregnancy requires an additional 300 kcal/d in order to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Thus, women who exercise during pregnancy should be particularly careful to ensure an adequate diet

6. Pregnant women who exercise in the first trimester should augment heat dissipation by ensuring adequate hydration, appropriate clothing, and optimal environmental surrounding during exercise.

7. Many of the physiologic and morphologic changes of pregnancy persists 4-6 weeks post partum. Thus, pre-pregnancy exercise routines should be resumed gradually based on a woman’s physical capability.

Danger signs & signals to stop exercise

Postpartum Exercise

Now that you’ve had your baby, you may be in a rush to get your body back and engage in some postnatal exercise. This is entirely understandable. Your body has gone through a lot of changes these past nine months. Of course, you want to get back into your fitness routine and get back to the weight you were before you were pregnant.

Benefits Of Postpartum Workouts

There are many benefits to exercise even when you haven’t had a baby. But once you’ve had a baby, exercise can help you feel like yourself again. Some benefits of postpartum exercise include:

  • It can help your body heal.
  • It boosts energy.
  • It can help prevent postpartum depression.

Having a newborn baby is both precious and exhausting. You can become so focused on your new baby that your needs fall by the wayside. This is understandable and happens to most, if not all, new mothers. 

Exercising can help you focus on yourself. It is something, maybe the only thing, you can do solely for yourself for the day. And as a new mother, you need that.

Along with allowing you to focus on yourself, postpartum workouts can help:

You are your best self when you are relaxed and happy. After having a baby, it can be a little more challenging to get back to that. You may become stressed, especially if you are not getting much sleep, and you probably aren’t. Exercise can help you relax, which will improve your mood.
After months of having so many hormones surging through your body, you are going to want to find balance. Exercise can help get your hormone back on track, so you can start to feel like yourself again.
Of course, one of the main reasons for postpartum exercise. Losing the baby weight is important to new moms. Postpartum exercise can help you lose weight, build strength and build your abdominal muscles back up.

If you want to know more about postpartum exercises you can do, our healthcare professionals at Roswell OB/GYN can help you. Give us a call today!

When Is It Safe To Excercise Postpartum?

When you can start working out depends on a few factors. While some say you can start working out days after birth, it isn’t always that simple. Generally, you should wait at least six weeks before engaging in any physical activity.

But it all depends on your pregnancy, birth, and what your doctor says. All women are not the same. Their pregnancy journeys are different. The labor and delivery they experience vary from each other. What works for one woman may not work for another. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with your doctor before you start exercising. At Roswell OB/GYN, we can help you create a postpartum workout plan.

If you had a healthy pregnancy and had a vaginal delivery, your recovery time may be shorter, especially if there were no complications and no tearing. If you had a C section, you should speak with your doctor to see how long you should wait before exercising. Once you have the approval to exercise, don’t go overboard. Just because you can exercise now doesn’t mean you should put too much stress on your body with heavyweights. Take it easy. Your body has been through a lot and needs a minute to get back in the swing of things.

Ideally, aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. At first, you may not be able to do that, and this is okay. Go for a 10-minute walk a day. Or do 5 minutes of stretching. The most important thing is to get your body moving in a low-impact way.

 

If you experience the following, stop exercising immediately and speak with your doctor:

  • Excess Bleeding
  • Vaginal Pain
  • Pelvis is feeling heavy
  • Urinary Leakage
  • Abdominal Pain

Postpartum Exercise Suggestions

As you start to exercise again, try to keep it low impact. This will give your body time to ease back into things. There are some simple exercises that you can add to your postpartum exercise plan.

Walking is a great way to lose weight, and it is easy on your joints. It is also something that you can do with your baby. And you can do it at your own pace.
This exercise will help you relax and is a gentle and easy postpartum ab workout. Lie on your back with your arms by your side and your legs extended. Take a deep breath and fill your belly, then exhale, pushing all the air out of your lungs.
Lie flat on your back and make sure that your lower back is pressed into the floor. Bring both legs up into the air until your body makes a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your legs as far as you can, and then bring them back up. You can also do it one leg at a time.
You can do this exercise with a lightweight or no weight at all. With your hands by your side, slowly raise your hands until your elbows make a 90-degree angle. Then slowly lower them.
Exercise your pelvic floor because pregnancy and childbirth can weaken it. Kegels can help you strengthen it. You should only do pelvic floor exercises after birth if your doctor says it is okay.
This exercise can be done while kneeling on the ground. While on your hands and knees, take a deep breath, tuck your pelvis in and squeeze your glutes together. Exhale and release.

Exercise after birth should be done slowly and with the approval of your doctor. Ease into your postnatal workout and be kind to your body. Don’t rush it.

If you want to know more about postpartum exercises you can do, our healthcare professionals at Roswell OB/GYN can help you. Give us a call today!

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