When it comes to getting exercise while pregnant, many moms-to-be have lots of questions. For decades, pregnant women were told that exercise during pregnancy has been, but that idea has recently been upended. For most healthy women, it’s actually a good idea to try to stay fit while pregnant. Of course, pregnancy isn’t the time to try to lose weight or start training for a marathon if you’ve never even run a 5K, but a simple, moderate exercise routine can actually have a wide range of benefits. For instance, according to the American Pregnancy Association, physical activity during pregnancy can help:
- Boost your energy
- Improve your mood
- Reduce muscle aches and backaches
- Decrease gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation and bloating
- Improve your quality of sleep
- Support better posture
- Prevent or treat gestational diabetes
- Increase your ability to cope when you go into labor
- Make it easier to get back in shape after the baby is born
Because of these benefits, many women today are looking for ways to stay in shape while pregnant. Read on to learn more about some of the options, as well as strategies for making exercise during pregnancy a fun and energizing experience.
Continuing Your Running or Walking Routine While Pregnant
If you’re an avid runner (or even a recreational jogger), you might not be excited about the idea of spending nine months away from the road or treadmill. After all, there’s nothing quite like the runner’s high! The good news is that more moms-to-be than ever before are continuing to run during their pregnancy, especially in the first few months. If you and your doctor decide that running while pregnant makes sense for you, it can be a fun way to stay in shape. Alternatively, a brisk walk is another great way to get outside, get your heart rate up, and support your health (and the health of the baby!) throughout your pregnancy.
However, a common complaint among women who run or walk during pregnancy is foot pain. In fact, foot problems can affect any woman who is pregnant, even if you aren’t running or walking for exercise. That’s because pregnancy hormones naturally cause the arch height of your foot to decrease. According to one study out of the University of Iowa, the change in arch height is especially significant during your first pregnancy. This can lead to flat feet, which can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms — especially if you’re trying to maintain a walking or running routine. Here are a few of the signs that you might have flat feet.
- Pain in your heel or plantar fascia
- Swelling on the inside of your ankle
- Pain in your knees or hips
One of the ways to address this issue is with custom orthotics. When you get fitted for custom orthotics, they are tailored specifically to meet your needs. That way, you won’t have to worry that generic orthotics will cause you even more problems, since they do not account for your unique stride and foot strike. With custom orthotics, you can avoid pain related to flat feet which can make the experience of running, jogging, or walking while pregnant much more enjoyable.
Considering Prenatal Massage as a Passive Form of Exercise
Even for the most dedicated fitness enthusiast, exercising while pregnant can become a major challenge during the final trimester. If you find yourself struggling to maintain your exercise routine — or even if you are just looking for an alternative physical activity that is a little less intense — you may want to consider prenatal massage. When you get a massage during pregnancy, it functions as a passive form of exercise by boosting your circulation. Just like a short run or a walk around the neighborhood, it can get your blood flowing to the tissues that need oxygen and nutrients to support your health and the health of your baby.
Nutrition that Supports Exercise While Pregnant
You probably already know that maintaining a relatively healthy diet is important to support the development of your baby, but your nutritional choices can also help keep your energy up when you are trying to maintain a regular exercise routine while you are pregnant. If you are runner, you may want to make sure you are choosing iron-rich foods like red meat, leafy greens, lentils, and eggs. It is also important to make sure you are getting enough B vitamins, which can boost energy, support the healthy development of your baby, and provide a wide range of other wellness benefits.
Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here for all moms-to-be. We offer custom orthotics, prenatal massage, and nutritional counseling — all of which can help you stay fit, happy, and healthy all the way through your pregnancy and beyond. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!