Physical activity in pregnancy: what can you do every day to keep fit?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults in general 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or the equivalent 75 minutes of vigorous activity, per week; What changes for those who are pregnant? The recommendations remain the same, but with due precautions.

Engaging in physical activity during pregnancy is not dangerous, on the contrary, it is strongly recommended for all pregnant women (if this is proceeding in a physiological way), to dedicate 30 minutes to movement every day , provided that some important physiological factors are kept in mind :

  • Hormonal changes make joints more flexible, increasing the risk of fractures;
  • The increase in weight causes a shift in the center of gravity of the body, placing a particular burden on the lumbar area of ​​the back and on the hips; a loss of stability follows;
  • The increased demand for oxygen by growing tissue decreases resistance during exercise.

Once aware, therefore, the woman can practice any physical activity she likes but at moderate intensity; concretely, during a “moderate intensity” movement, one must always be able to speak; if breathing becomes too labored, it is advisable to stop immediately.

Why is physical activity important in pregnancy?

In addition to improving general health, physical activity brings numerous benefits such as reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, essential requirements for ensuring the health of the growing child. Furthermore, from a psychological point of view, movement reduces levels of anxiety, stress, perception of fatigue and depression .

What activities to do?

  • Walk briskly and outdoors 30 minutes a day;
  • Swimming or exercising in water, as it requires the use of almost all muscles without overloading the joints;
  • Ride a bicycle, preferably stationary (exercise bike);
  • Yoga , pilates and dance, as they help reduce stress;
  • Nordic walking as it promotes the use of 90% of the muscles and offers support to the whole back;
  • Low-intensity running, provided it was also practiced before pregnancy.

What activities to avoid?

  • Avoid all contact sports or with the ball or where there is a high risk of falls.
  • Avoid mountain excursions at high altitudes (greater than 2500 meters), not before a few days of acclimatization;
  • Avoid doing physical activity in climates that are too humid or in temperatures that are too high.

What other attention is important to have?

  • NEVER go to the point where you have difficulty speaking or are in pain
  • Preceed each exercise with a warm-up period and follow with relaxation, to keep the joints healthy;
  • Always maintain a low to moderate intensity workout;
  • Respect an adequate caloric intake before starting the activity;
  • Do not exceed 45 minutes of effort;
  • Maintain optimal hydration throughout the duration of the activity; water and fresh fruit provide the right amount of mineral salts.
  • avoid tummy time exercises after 12 weeks
  • avoid belly-up exercises after 16 weeks
  • be careful with stretching for circulating levels of relaxin loosen ligaments and joints making them more susceptible to muscle tears
  • choose a stable base to do the exercises

Therefore, if a woman already practiced a sport before pregnancy, she can continue to devote herself to it; if, on the other hand, your level of physical activity was already minimal, you will have to commit to increasing it; the advantages will be multiple and weight loss in the postpartum period will become much easier.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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