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Ideal Sports During Pregnancy

Updated on March 21, 2015

Many women are uncertain of how much exercise is recommendable during pregnancy. For years, sports during pregnancy was considered as dangerous for the mother as well as the fetus. Nowadays, doctors and sports scientists agree that regular exercise during pregnancy is very beneficial. It keeps the mother fit, reduces back problems and water retention, helps control weight and can prevent gestational diabetes and depressions. New studies have shown that even intensive training does not have a negative influence on the fetus.

Obviously, there are many things to consider when you work out during pregnancy. Your body functions differently and physically as well as mentally, pregnant women go through a multitude of changes.

Swimming

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The best and most effective form of exercise during pregnancy is swimming. It offers multiple advantages. One of the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy is that you carry around a lot of extra weight for months. When you are in the water, you won't feel that extra weight and it will be a lot easier to train both large muscle groups (arms and legs) and enjoy those cardiovascular benefits of swimming. The growing belly often leads to back pain which swimming can help counteract, by strengthening muscles. As overheating is one of the risks of intensive exercise during pregnancy, swimming is the best way to tackle that problem, as the water cools you down. Swimming also protects joins from stress and strain while improving flexibility, building up strength and endurance and burning a lot of calories in a short time in comparison to other common sports like jogging or biking. It will be a lot easier for you to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.

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Pilates

Pilates is yet another sport which will not put pressure on joints, being a low impact sport that strengthens your muscles and increases joint flexibility. Back pain, a common problem during pregnancy, is reduced through the exercise of the tummy muscles through which the back and pelvis are stabilized. In addition, the pelvic floor is strengthened, supporting the bowel, bladder and uterus. During pregnancy, many women experience balance problems. Pilates gives you more stability throughout pregnancy with your belly growing. Relaxation and breathing techniques are a great advantage of Pilates which can even help you bring the baby into the correct position and prepare it for birth. All in all, Pilates gives you a stronger, more flexible and more balanced body, which you will greatly benefit from during your entire pregnancy.

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Walking

Walking is probably the easiest way to stay fit during pregnancy as you don't need to learn any new techniques that you might need to learn for pilates, yoga or swimming and you can also fit it perfectly into your schedule and are not dependent on scheduled gym classes. Walking is a great way to exercise and reap the benefits of a cardiovascular activity without putting too much pressure on your knees and ankles. It keeps your body toned, is a great way to prevent gestational diabetes. which might lead to the baby being born too large, and the risk of developing type II diabetes. Walking in the last stages of pregnany can make it easier for your baby's head to move down into the pelvis and will help you deliver faster.

Comparison of Benefits of Individual Sports During Pregnancy

 
Swimming
Pilates
Walking
Back strengthening
 
Improving balance
Improving flexibility
Minimal pressure on joints
Feeling weightless
 
 
Great cardiovascular exercise
 
Great Preparation for Birth

Poll on Sports During Pregnancy

Which Sport Helped You During Pregnancy?

See results

Safety Precautions

It is important to watch that you take in enough liquid during your workout, even when swimming. It is recommended to drink a glass every 20 minutes of exercise and even more if the weather is hot and humid to prevent overheating. It is dangerous to exercise when it is very hot, though. This doesn't mean you have to stop exercising complete, you can choose to work out in the mornings or indoors.

If you haven't exercised at all before your pregnancy, it is better if you consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness goals.

Low-impact activities are highly recommended during pregnancy. Sports where you move fast and that have a high impact should be avoided, as your center of gravity changes during pregnancy.

Stretches and warm-ups are always the best way to start exercising and will prepare your muscles for the workout. It can also help you prevent any injuries.

And most important of all, always listen to your body and take signs of fatigue seriously.

Work-out During 1st Trimester

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