Exercise and Pregnancy: Is It Safe When I Have a Heart Condition?
Although pregnancy can be a time of great joy and celebration, it can also be a period in a women’s life when she becomes concerned about a number of issues she never had to think about before.
Having a heart condition on top of all this can lead to particular concern, and you may be unsure if it’s safe to keep on exercising.
We know that exercise throughout our lifetime helps boost heart health, however it’s true to say that many women stop exercising during pregnancy. It is completely possible however, to continue doing some easy and safe heart healthy exercises throughout your pregnancy without risk to you or your baby.
Here are 5 simple and effective pregnancy exercises:
Not only is walking one of the best cardiovascular exercises, it is also one of the safest exercises you can do while pregnant. The added bonus is you can keep it up right throughout your whole pregnancy.
Swimming is wonderful for your heart and body, and there are many benefits to be realized by adding swimming to your regular exercise routine - it gives your arms and legs a great workout, and it promotes cardiovascular health. It can also feel good to be in the water, as it creates a natural support for your growing bump.
Aerobics classes will help you keep fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. Just be sure to enroll in a class that is suited for pregnant women. Not only is this safer, but you’ll also have the benefit of meeting other pregnant women, and it can be an invaluable source of support for mums-to-be.
4. Weight training
Weight training can also be a very beneficial addition to your pregnancy workout routine, as it helps to keep your body healthy, toned and to increase your muscular strength. Please remember, you must only ever use very lightweights.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2008), weight-bearing exercise throughout pregnancy can help women maintain cardiovascular health long-term.
Comparing women who stopped exercise during pregnancy, the study showed that women who continued had better overall heart health, gained less weight, and experienced a higher level of overall fitness. Women who exercised during pregnancy were also more prone to increase exercise over time, and continue on a regular basis.
Dr. Clapp stated, "Women who continue weight-bearing exercise during pregnancy maintain their long-term fitness and have a low cardiovascular risk profile in the perimenopausal period." This is the first study to show that women can maintain heart health long-term, by continuing weight-bearing exercise throughout pregnancy.
Yoga or pilates are both wonderful body conditioning forms of exercise, which promote stretching and flexibility. They also encourage deep breathing techniques, which are so important during labor, and they place emphasis on that all-important pelvic floor!
By doing a combination of the pregnancy exercises mentioned, you can have a healthy, balanced exercise routine, which will go a long way in helping you get through the marathon of childbirth, and it will encourage you to feel more positive about yourself, your body and your birth.
Word of caution
As with any new exercise routine you decide to take up, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor first prior to beginning, so that they can give you the all clear.