REDUCING THE RISK OF PREGNANCY-INDUCED HYPERTENSION
Congratulations-- you’re pregnant! With the rush of changes coming your way, it’s normal to feel both excited and a bit confused about the rush of information coming your way. This information overload may make you feel intimidated, nervous, or even scared about the unknown- including how to handle movement. While there is a lot of conflicting information out there, it’s a fact that pregnant women are strong and capable and that yes, you CAN continue the majority of your pre-pregnancy workouts (based on how you’re feeling each day)! Your intensity can even stay the same as it was prior to pregnancy and a trained fitness professional (like our FIT4MOM instructors) can help you determine what strength movements are best for you during each trimester.
You’ll notice that we said you can continue your pre-pregnancy fitness routine “based on how you are feeling each day”. That’s because we know that every day feels different when you are pregnant. Some days, you are going to wake up and feel amazing, with a beautiful baby glow. On other days, you may not want to get out of bed. Some workouts are going to make you feel like Wonder Woman… and sometimes walking will feel like sprinting. Every day is new and different and that’s not only okay, but it’s totally normal.
As you move through your pregnancy, you want to be on the lookout for when things stop feeling “normal”. If you start to notice that your heart rate feels like it is always racing, you have changes in your vision, an increase in your nausea levels, or pain in your upper right side, it is imperative that you pause your exercise routine and seek guidance from your doctor. Your OBGYN may test your blood pressure to check for pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), also known as preeclampsia.
During pregnancy, when your blood pressure is high, there is an increased resistance within your blood vessels. This may decrease blood flow to your organs, as well as to the placenta, leading to inadequate blood and oxygen as well as fewer nutrients being delivered to your baby. The good news is that many studies have shown that low-to-moderate intensity cardio movements, total body strength training, & stretching exercises can help reduce the common issues and risks associated with PIH. In fact, researchers believe that the more active you are during pregnancy, the fewer risks you may encounter.
It’s important to note the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have both issued research-based recommendations indicating that the benefits of regular exercise far outweigh the risks for the prenatal woman and her baby. In fact, the benefits of exercise for mama during pregnancy include:
- Reduced swelling and edema
- Increased energy levels
- Enhanced mood
- Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improved posture
- Increased physical preparedness for labor and delivery
After you’ve been cleared for movement by your doctor, we welcome you to try these movements with us here or by joining a live FIT4BABY class offered in your area. If you are unsure if you should incorporate more movement into your pregnancy, or are dealing with multiple pregnancy-induced conditions at once, please consult with your doctor before exercising.
The most important aspect of prenatal movement is remembering to breathe deeply. As you move through the following exercises, remember to keep your breath flowing, move at your own pace, and at no point should you be holding your breath.
Stepping High Knees
Moving Squat & Rear Delt Fly
Standing Cat & Cow
Jack-Jack Forward & Butt-Kickers Backwards
Plie Squat & Lat Pull Down