Pregnancy brings with it a host of aches and pains. Luckily, there are gentle stretches and exercises you can do to ease the discomfort you may feel. In fact, it's recommended that pregnant women continue to exercise as a way to stay healthy during the months before the baby is due.
Physicians Recommend Staying Active While Pregnant
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have issued their most recent recommendations, advising that with a physician's approval, women can continue to exercise during pregnancy right up to delivery.
The ACOG recognizes that this is a crucial part of staying healthy during this period. They recommend that women with a normal pregnancy exercise and stretch thirty to forty minutes a day if possible and keep up with prenatal vitamins.
Stretching has an enormous upside to it during pregnancy. Overall, it helps lengthen muscle groups and loosen up the entire body. This, in turn, can make you feel looser and much more comfortable.
With pregnancy, a woman’s posture shifts to re-distribute the weight of your growing mid-section. This can result in neck, chest and lower back pain. Exercise and stretching when done daily has been shown to help eliminate this pain and improve range of motion.
Tips for Exercising While Pregnant
Keep these tips in mind to stay safe during physician-approved stretching:
- Warm up first. Do not stretch cold or previously inactive muscles.
- No bouncing, as this can cause a pull or muscle strain. Hold each stretch for 20 – 30 seconds and reach as far as comfortable.
- Limit your range of motion, which is joint specific and different for everyone.
Did You Know?
During pregnancy women’s bodies produce a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone helps to loosen ligaments in the pelvic area and in the rest of the body. It is possible to become a little more flexible than usual during pregnancy, which can lead to over stretching. Your body will tell you if you are doing too much.
Here's what else to know about exercise at this crucial time:
- Women who start stretching and exercising for fifty-five minutes three times per week were 34% less likely to need surgery for delivery.
- Babies born to mothers who routinely exercised during pregnancy can have brain responses of a six – eight-month-old infant.
- It has been shown that regular pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy helps reduce the pushing phase of labor.
It is in your and your newborn's best interest to keep the exercise and stretching going during pregnancy as long as you can. Let’s keep that high quality of life for both of you.