Many expectant mothers are wondering how they can keep their weight fit and whether it is good to practice physical activity before childbirth. The answer is: absolutely yes, movement is always important and during pregnancy, in particular, can contribute to the physical and psychological well-being of the woman.
The recommended disciplines are the most diverse: it can be good yoga as swimming, the important thing is that it is the gynecologist or midwife to direct the women during the first prenatal visits and that the exercises are guided by experts, to safeguard the safety of mother and child.
We wanted to deepen the theme of sport in pregnancy, to provide useful advice and references to future mothers: let’s see together what are the benefits, the precautions to be taken and the disciplines recommended in gymnastics in pregnancy.
SPORTS IN PREGNANCY: THE BENEFITS
Women who were already practicing regular physical activity, before conception will be able to continue their exercises, after consulting the doctor, simply by decreasing the intensity. For the more sedentary, it is preferable to start with more gentle and gradual training, always under medical supervision.
In any case, gymnastics in pregnancy is good and can bring many benefits, with a general improvement in the state of physical and mental health. In fact:
- strengthens heart, blood vessels and peripheral circulation, helping to reduce the sense of swelling in the legs and the accumulation of fluid;
- prevents and reduces back pain, strengthening the dorsal muscles that will better balance the center of gravity of the body when the uterus begins to increase
- is keeping weight gain under control;
- reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy causing a low tolerance to glucose (more frequent in overweight women);
- helps to lose weight after childbirth (especially if the sport is not abandoned);
- promotes good mood, thanks to the release of endorphins, hormones that help to sleep well and to ease tensions, causing a sense of well-being.
However, physical activity is not recommended in cases of confirmed diseases affecting the vascular or pulmonary system, as it could worsen the condition of the mother and also put at risk the health of the fetus.
IN WHICH CASES SPORT IS NOT RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY
In particular, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a non-profit organization that deals with the psycho-physical health of women and international reference on these issues, advises against prenatal gymnastics in the presence of:
- Some types of heart and lung diseases;
- Cervical or cerclage insufficiency;
- Waiting for twins or triplets (or more) with risk factors for preterm delivery;
- Placenta previa;
- Preterm delivery or membrane rupture;
- Preeclampsia (gestosis);
- Arterial hypertension induced by pregnancy;
- Severe anemia.
In these cases, in the presence of diseases or pregnancies at risk, bed rest is usually prescribed, for the safety of mother and child. When the diagnosis, on the other hand, ascertains a good state of health, one can devote oneself to sport, choosing the most recommended disciplines and exercises according to the week of gestation.
Let’s see them better together.
PRENATAL GYMNASTICS: WHAT TO DO?
For pregnant women, the scientific community, including the ACOG, recommends a 150-minute workout per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity under medical supervision. This means that all activities that rhythmically work the muscles of the legs and arms can work well: from gardening work to fast walking. In any case, in pregnant sports, you should customize your training, time and intensity according to your physical condition, remembering to proceed gradually.
FIRST AND SECOND TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY
The first three months of gestation, even if the bump is still not seen, are particularly delicate, both because the embryo is being implanted, transforming the hormonal environment, and because often the woman suffers from nausea and vomiting which compromise her psycho-physical state. This is why, even though there are no restrictions on sports activities, in the first trimester of pregnancy it is important to pay particular attention to hydration, replenishing fluids, and thermoregulation, avoiding excessively hot or airy places.
In general, the sports recommended in the first two quarters of pregnancy are:
- Fast walking, for a total-body workout of joints and muscles;
- Swimming and water aerobics, which are a good workout for the muscles of the body, support it, avoiding injury and fatigue, especially for women who find it difficult to walk because of back pain;
- Yoga and Pilates “modified”, that is, specially designed for women in sweet expectation.
- There are many courses for future mothers who change some classic positions that would not be suitable, in favor of specific exercises that can promote flexibility, elasticity and breathing;
- Fit-ball exercises for the movement and tonicity of the abdominal and pelvic muscles. sportsmen, trained in running or tennis, can continue these disciplines even during pregnancy, always after consulting the health staff of reference.
What about the last three months?
THIRD TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY
The last three months of pregnancy are those in which the body weight increases most and you do not have the energy of the early days, due to fatigue, possible digestive problems or problems with swollen legs. For these reasons, pregnant women, even if in good health, are not recommended to exercise after the 7th month. It is better to go for simple walks, toning, breathing and relaxation exercises, together with yoga, pilates and fit-ball exercises, which in many cases can also be good at this stage.
In any case, regardless of the month of gestation, if you want to practice sports during pregnancy, it is important to know that all extreme disciplines, excessively tiring or involving the risk of falls and traumas, are absolutely to be avoided. This is true, for example, for bodybuilding, ice hockey or boxing, for all sports at high altitudes or in immersion, for contact sports such as martial arts, or those that excessively stress the muscles, such as basketball, football and, if you are not already well trained, running.
PREGNANT SPORTS AND WOMEN’S HEALTH: SOME TIPS
When choosing training during pregnancy, it is important to always rely on specialists and consult your gynaecologist and midwife both to be directed to the best of your ability according to your condition, and if you experience problems or complications. In particular, in prenatal gymnastics remember to warm up, replenish fluids and do not exceed 30 minutes of training 3 or 4 times a week, without exaggerating with the intensity and always monitoring the heart rate and temperature (which should not rise above 38 °).
Finally, if you play sports during pregnancy, you should pay attention to certain symptoms such as weakness, chest pain, headaches, vaginal bleeding, in the presence of which it is good to stop physical activity and seek health care.
In such a delicate moment, in fact, protecting the psychophysical well-being of the woman becomes even more important, for this reason it is important to pay attention to every aspect of our lifestyle and our health: from physical activity to nutrition, passing through the care of the teeth which, as we have seen, can have implications on the growth of the fetus and on the future disorders of the unborn child. Just thinking about the child and his future, it may be useful to consider immediately the opportunity to take out an insurance policy that puts his health at the center. Family Protection Children, which covers children from 4 to 18 years, provides a discount for medical examinations and a refund of expenses in case of injury. Preventing, especially when talking about your children, is essential, especially in the area of present and future health.
Now that you know which sport is best practiced during pregnancy and which to avoid, which course will you attend?