Why you should be working out while pregnant
Women who become pregnant and are already active in exercise look to continue working out while they're expecting and there's plenty of benefits for those who do explains a Jersey Shore physician.
Dr. Angela Jones a board certified physician at Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group Healthy Woman OB/GYN says pregnancy can be very exhausting and exercise helps to give you more energy and helps you feel better.
She says it can really help a woman prepare for labor.
"Labor is work. Labor is hard and your body needs to be in shape in order to better accommodate and be able to get thru that," Jones said. "If you've got a body that's more physically fit, you're going to make labor easier and it might be shorter, you'll also decrease your risk of potentially ending up having a c-section and a fit body is much more prone to bouncing back faster than an unfit body post-partum or recovery post-delivery."
There's a couple key areas to focus on that will help better prepare you physically for giving birth.
"I think that any activity is good activity because the aerobic exercise that you get will prove to be very beneficial but I think that anything that works on core strengthening as well as flexibility will prove to be very advantageous especially during the delivery process," Jones said.
However, that's only to a point.
"Usually after the 16th week of pregnancy we don't recommend any exercises where you would be laying directly on your back only because of the weight of the uterus compressing some of the major blood supply," Jones said.
Jones says working out and exercising also helps with limiting excessive weight gain and lowering the risk of child obesity.
"Moms that are diabetic during pregnancy not only have an increased risk of having babies that are macrosomic or exceedingly large, but those children are also at an increased risk of childhood obesity as well as diabetes late on in life," Jones said. "A fit mom helps to pass on some of those benefits (of being in shape) to babies and decreasing the risk for further issues for them."
She explains that it also helps with the depression that comes with a pregnancy.
"In shape moms and moms that exercise are less likely to experience things like post-partum depression," Jones said.
It also gives you a boost and serves as a benefit for you and the baby during an exhausting pregnancy period.
"Pregnancy is a really amazing state of being, I mean you're growing another human being inside of your body," Jones said. "It can be very taxing for moms so the working out is a benefit to both mom and baby."
Are there any limits to what you should be doing?
Jones says it's best to stay away from lifts or exercises that put you at an increased risk of falling or playing sports like ice hockey or basketball.
"Anything that's going to increase your risk for falling or having direct compact to a growing uterus, you will certainly want to avoid," Jones said.
If you work out regularly and enjoy actively doing compound lifts like the dead-lift, squat or bench press, can you continue those workouts while pregnant?
Jones says as long as your don't overdo it, adjust the weight and have a spotter, it should be okay.
"As long as you're being safe and taking safety precautions and listening to the limits of your body, which is different for everyone, you should be fine," Jones said.
If you're feeling dizzy, lightheaded and short of breath while doing a workout, it's time to take a break because you're likely overdoing it.
It's equally as important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Exercising is something Jones encourages you to do after giving birth as well.
Before you start any kind of a workout program, Jones advises you to check-in with your OB/GYN doctor.
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