Many women, when they learn that they are pregnant, stop practicing sports, or even practically any physical activity. However, it is not only possible but even recommended to continue (or even begin) sports and physical activity during pregnancy.
It is recommended doing sports 30 minutes 2-3 times a week and walking everyday. This is not without reason: sport and physical activity have important benefits for pregnant women!!
Here are the benefits of sports:
• It will facilitate the birth of your child by improving your endurance and breathing performance.
• It decreases the risk of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, usually during the 2nd trimester, and which results in hyperglycemia, i.e. too high levels of sugar in your blood (glucose). It affects 3 to 10% of pregnant women. Gestational diabetes presents risks for the mother (hypertension, cardiovascular problems) as well as for the baby: malformations of the fetus or too large a baby causing complications during childbirth. It can also increase the subsequent risk of obesity in children.
• It reduces the risk of high blood pressure which affects about 10% of pregnant women. High blood pressure occurs in most cases in the third trimester of pregnancy and can cause complications for the mother and the fetus.
• It prevents edema at the ankles. Edema is a disorder of the bloodstream that can cause tingling or pain and give you the feeling of heaviness in the legs.
• It limits weight gain during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, and allows you to return to your earlier weight faster after childbirth.
• It reduces stress, improves well-being and mood, acts positively on self-confidence, especially because of the secretion of endorphins called the "hormone of pleasure" (see What do you know about the effect of exercise on the brain?).
• It improves the quality of sleep.
Sports and physical activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are recommended for pregnant women and absolutely safe!
Swimming is a nice sport during pregnancy as you will feel your body lighter in the water. Of course, avoid diving ;) !
The exercise bike is the ideal sport because it offers you a cardiovascular workout, making your heart and lungs work, improves your cardio-respiratory capacity and your endurance. It also helps to strengthen your legs and tone your perineum, important for the smooth unfolding of the childbirth. Be sure to have a good position on your bike: keep your back always straight!
If you were not doing sport before pregnancy, nothing prevents you from starting while pregnant, on the contrary!
Sports that are too violent, too intensive or that involve a risk of falling should be avoided, such as fighting sports, team sports (football, volleyball, basketball, etc.), horseback riding, skiing, etc.
Gynecologists generally advise not to go cycling outside from the second trimester because of the risk of falling. But you can fall back on the exercise bike!
If you are expecting twins (or more), in case of hypertension, chronic bleeding, back pain or risk of premature birth, talk to your gynecologist as it is very likely that he or she will advise you to rest and decrease any physical activity.
During the first three months, you can do sports without any problems. Then you have to be more cautious and go more and more gradually. As your pregnancy progresses, your belly will gain weight and volume and your center of gravity will move down and forward.
When this becomes too troublesome, usually around the 6th month, it is best to see with your gynecologist if you can continue to do sports or not. There is, however, no general rule: It all depends on your pregnancy, your weight gain, any complications, etc. In any case, it is necessary to go gently and to be always listening to your body!
Ask your gynecologist before you start on your exercise bike! Especially from 6 to 7 months, you have to be careful and go slowly.
N.B. The information contained in this article is informational and should not replace a medical consultation with a gynecologist or a doctor. Each pregnancy is different and requires individual recommendations!
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