AHS Weekly Wellness News: Stay healthy during pregnancy with moderate activity

Some say that pregnancy is like running a marathon: it takes a lot of stamina to make it to the finish line.

Physical activity can help make the nine-month journey easier—and you don’t need to actually run a marathon to enjoy the benefits. Research shows moderate exercise during pregnancy can help to ease discomfort, reduce the risk of complications and stress and boost your energy.

“The physical benefits of fitness and exercise are the same as they are for women who aren’t pregnant,” says Dr. Suzanne Tough, who is funded by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) and is the scientific director of Alberta Health Services’ Maternal, Newborn, Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network.

Tough says as long as your pregnancy is low-risk and you’re receiving regular prenatal care, nothing is stopping you from being active during pregnancy. Physical activity is good for both you and your baby.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends the following FITT tips for physical activity:

Frequency: begin at three times a week and build up to four times a week.

Intensity: exercise within your target heart rate zone (see sidebar). Whatever you do, you want to be able to talk comfortably while doing it.

Time: try to exercise for 15 minutes, even if it means reducing the intensity. Rest if you need to.

Type: pick non-weight-bearing or low-impact endurance exercise such as walking, stationary cycling, aquatic exercise and low-impact aerobics. Other options include yoga, dance and resistance training.

Knowing your limits is important. And if you experience any of the following, stop exercising and contact your health-care provider right away:

  • Excessive shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Painful uterine contractions (more than six to eight in an hour)
  • Vaginal bleeding or any “gush” of fluid from the vagina
  • Dizziness or faintness.

Other pointers for exercising when you’re pregnant include: drinking plenty of water, staying cool, avoiding working out in hot, humid weather, wearing loose clothing and wearing a supportive bra.

Heart Rates for PregnancyThis article is courtesy of Apple Magazine.