By Kristen Scruggs
I’m a very active person and I love, enjoy and NEED exercise in my life! I am addicted to running. However, when I was four months pregnant with my daughter, my doctor asked me to stop running. I was devastated. It looked like I had placenta previa, and he wanted to be on the safe side. He told me to stick with low impact activity. This was quite new for me, so I had to find new ways to be active with my growing belly!
Here are some examples of low-impact activity to try if you find yourself in a similar situation:
- 30-45 minutes on the Elliptical/Stairmaster
- Walking on the treadmill or outside
- Basic weight training using 5 pound weights to get/keep your arms toned
- Pilates/Yoga for Pregnancy DVDs
The benefits of staying active during your pregnancy are numerous. It helps reduce back aches, constipation, bloating and swelling. It improves your mood, energy and posture while promoting muscle tone, strength and endurance needed for labor. Staying active even helps you sleep better!
A few points to remember: Do not exercise on your back after your first trimester. Avoid exercise in hot, humid weather – and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and overheating. Wearing a supportive sports bra and comfortable clothing will help you remain cool. If you’re just starting an exercise routine, begin with as little as five minutes a day, and add five minutes each week until you can work up to 30 minutes a day, or even break it up into two 15 minute chunks. Make sure you consume up to an extra 300 calories per day as needed for your pregnancy.
You should stop exercising immediately if you have any of the following symptoms during activity: uterine contractions, headache, chest pain, dizziness, vaginal bleeding, increased shortness of breath, or feeling faint. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
If you are exercising during pregnancy, the extra weight on the front of your body shifts your center of gravity and places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and lower back. Investing in a good maternity support belt will really help.
Here are some good choices:
- Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Belt, $32, available from Amazon
- Motherhood Maternity Support Belt, $39, available from Motherhood (online only)
I was very active through most of my pregnancy, but due to my daughter’s small measurements, I was induced at 38 weeks. So my level of exercise those final weeks was significantly less. However, my daughter was born perfectly healthy at 5 lbs, 12 oz. And soon after my checkup, I resumed running.
It was much easier for me lose the weight and get back to my level of fitness since I exercised during most of my pregnancy. So before you get worried when your doctor deems you high risk, remember that high risk doesn’t always mean bed rest! Take it one day at a time and listen to your body – and if needed, slow your activity some and go low impact!
Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to treat, diagnose or otherwise replace medical care. Always consult your doctor, especially if you are pregnant, before beginning any exercise program.
Kristen E. Scruggs is the Chapter Leader for the East Orlando Chapter of Moms RUN This Town, a free running club for Moms with nearly 300 members. She just completed her first full marathon (26.2 miles) Dec. 1, the Space Coast Marathon! Kristen is married with a one-year-old daughter and wants 2-3 more children in the near future! You can see what her busy group of running mommas is up to at www.momsrunthistown.com/EastOrlando/.