What are the exercises during pregnancy

Can I exercise while pregnant? Yes, please!

Finally pregnant! And immediately questions pop into your head: What else can I eat? Will everything go well? How is my everyday life as a mother? If you are a sporty, active woman, there is one question that interests you in particular: Can I continue to exercise during pregnancy? The answer is: yes, you can! No, you should!

We can say with a clear conscience that moderate exercise is extremely good for pregnancy and the child and reduces many pregnancy risks.

Marion Sulprizio, head of the online coaching team of the information and service portal “Sport in Pregnancy” at the Cologne Sports University

Numerous studies show: Active pregnant women have fewer physical complaints and gain less weight during pregnancy. Often this even leads to fewer complications. Exercise also increases self-confidence and reduces the risk of postpartum (after birth) mood swings and depression. “It's not just the mother who benefits from physical activity. Studies have shown that exercise during pregnancy even has a “training effect” on the baby. This is reflected in an increased heart rate variability and a lower resting heart rate of the fetus, ”explains Ms. Sulprizio.

If your doctor confirms that you are pregnant without complications, you can do sports. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete, the following tips will keep you in shape during pregnancy and are good for your unborn offspring.

How much exercise is allowed during pregnancy?

We recommend around seven hours of exercise a week to stay healthy. So it's perfectly okay to be active for an hour a day during pregnancy. “According to a Danish study, more than seven hours of exercise per week increases the risk of miscarriage, especially in early pregnancy. It is therefore recommended to be particularly careful when training until the 18th week of pregnancy (SSW), ”says Marion Sulprizio from the Sport University in Cologne. “The implantation phase of the fertilized egg is particularly sensitive. It is not necessarily wild movements, but poor blood circulation and insufficient oxygen supply to the uterus, which can be dangerous. Once the fetus is anchored, you can theoretically step on the gas again. Most of the time, however, the growing belly then inevitably leads to restrictions. "

You shouldn't aim for top athletic performance during pregnancy. The motto is: Don't chase big goals, but keep your fitness as good as possible. And always listen to your body with one ear. If an exercise is uncomfortable, uncomfortable, tired, or weak, this is a sign of being overwhelmed and it should be listened to.

What sports can I do while pregnant?

Starting with intense workouts during pregnancy of all times is not a good idea. Still, there are many opportunities for pregnant women to become more active.
Try to integrate more movement into your everyday life. Climbing stairs instead of using the elevator or walking more often. During a long walk in the fresh air, you and your baby will fill up with more oxygen, which increases blood circulation.

Moderate cycling, but especially swimming, aqua fit classes, or aqua aerobics are suitable sports that you can keep up late in your pregnancy. The weightlessness in the water is particularly good for you during pregnancy and is gentle on your joints and ligaments. You also strengthen your back muscles. Of the four basic swimming types, you should avoid butterflies (also called dolphins).

Abdominal muscle training during pregnancy

Countless pictures are circulating on social media showing pregnant women with a six-pack still visible during a hard workout. However, there are a few things you should pay attention to when doing abdominal muscle training:

After the 20th week of pregnancy at the latest, you should no longer train the straight abdominal muscles in isolation. Sit-ups, crunches and jackknives in particular are now taboo. As soon as the abdomen begins to grow, the straight abdominal muscles move to the side and form a gap in the middle, the so-called rectus diastasis. This gives the growing baby the space it needs. "If the straight abdominal muscles are trained further in isolation, the high abdominal pressure can cause the left and right muscles to diverge to a greater extent," explains Marion Sulprizio. "The wrong training prevents the crevice from regressing after the birth is already preprogrammed: Either it does not close again quickly enough or something even stays open."

You can continue to exercise gently the oblique and deeper abdominal muscles. This has a positive effect as these areas work together with the pelvic floor muscles. Important for all exercises: Make sure you maintain an upright posture and avoid abrupt and hasty movements that put strain on the pelvic floor.

From the third trimester of pregnancy onwards, you shouldn't do any exercises in the supine position. The child's now high weight presses on the vena cava on the back and prevents the blood from flowing back to the heart. This makes you dizzy. “Exercises lying on your side, standing, sitting or in a four-legged position are now cheaper. In addition, static abdominal training is always preferable to dynamic training. That means pulling in the navel and keeping the abdominal muscle tension, ”advises expert Sulprizio.

Jogging During Pregnancy

If you haven't jogged before, pregnancy is not the time to start. For experienced runners, the following applies: Test how jogging with your round belly gets you. Adjust your pace so that your heart rate stays within 140 beats. And sprinkle in longer walking sequences if you have the feeling that the "jumping" child is pressing too hard on the pelvic floor.

As long as you are fine, you are having fun and your core body temperature does not increase significantly (if you jog too quickly and for too long in the sun) everything is fine. Some runners jog up to a week before the birth, others stop between the third and sixth month because it feels strange. “In general, there are no guidelines as to when you should stop jogging or use the cross trainer. Moderate interval training is also not problematic as long as it does not go into the intensive area. Otherwise just look for alternatives. In the cardio area, cycling, (Nordic) walking and, above all, swimming are possible well into late pregnancy, ”adds Marion Sulprizio.

Yoga in Pregnancy

Yoga is one of the recommended sports during pregnancy - regardless of how intensively you did sports beforehand. “Power or Ashtanga yoga is not advisable, however. Likewise from Bikram Yoga, which is completely unsuitable due to the hot room temperatures. Hatha and Kundalini Yoga, as well as Santulan Kriya Yoga, on the other hand, are ideal, ”recommends online coach Marion Sulprizio. In general, you should avoid demanding asanas and exercise sequences as well as postures that put pressure on the uterus. In addition, you prefer to avoid positions in which you have to hold your breath for a long time and to bend backwards from the prone position. “In addition, from our point of view, positions in which the expectant mother is long upside down are harmful for her and the child. We advise against doing handstands or the like, ”adds Sulprizio. Stick to breathing and stretching exercises, especially from mid-pregnancy.

Pregnancy yoga as preparation for birth

Yoga courses especially for pregnant women are not strenuous, but prepare you optimally for a natural birth. Yogic breathing and muscle stretching give you more body awareness and control that you can access during childbirth. “Many of the postures in yoga are similar to those that pregnant women instinctively take during labor. Especially when letting go and opening in the pelvis. Another advantage is that the baby can reduce the risk of a positional anomaly, ”explains Sulprizio.

Tips for exercising during pregnancy

Watch your heart rate

Whether regular exercise in everyday life, on the way to work or monitoring the heart rate during a workout - a heart rate monitor is an ideal tool for active pregnant women.

The information and service portal “Sport in Pregnancy” of the Sport University Cologne recommends: Complete all sports and exercises during pregnancy in the moderate, aerobic area. Depending on age and training level, a heart rate range of 125 to 155 beats per minute is best. When cycling, the heart rate should be ten more beats per minute and when swimming even 20 beats per minute lower.

“During anaerobic exercise, lactate builds up in the blood. This can be harmful to the fetus. In addition, the increased blood flow to the muscles can be at the expense of the child's placental blood flow and thus endanger the baby's oxygen supply, ”explains DSHS online coach Marion Sulprizio. As long as you are not out of breath and can have a normal conversation at the same time, there is no risk of exhausting yourself ("talk test").

Keep an eye on your pulse during pregnancy

You can easily monitor your heart rate with your Garmin smartwatch on your wrist. Set an alarm to go off when you exceed a heart rate of 140. In this way you make sure that you stay in the moderate, aerobic range and that you do not burden your child with too hard training.

Garmin's pregnancy tracking not only gives you tips for your training. You can also pause the determination of your training condition.
Due to the increased blood volume, your pulse rises during the course of pregnancy, which affects your fitness level. If you interrupt the recording of the value, you can take it easy during pregnancy. You will continue to pursue your long-term training goal normally after the birth of your baby.

Avoid vibrations

You should generally avoid violent impact movements in the form of high jumps or external vibrations (e.g. powerplate or martial arts) as well as hasty and uncontrolled movements. Marion Sulprizio specifies: “It has been empirically proven that“ high impact ”sports, especially in untrained women in early pregnancy, have an increased risk of miscarriage. Such exposure is taboo even before the 18th week of pregnancy. Even if no belly can be seen yet. "

Don't lift too hard

When doing dumbbell training, you should reduce your weight during pregnancy and not increase it under any circumstances. You shouldn't lift more than ten kilograms as you risk lowering your uterus. Reduce your bodyweight training from the fourth month and leave it off completely from the seventh month. Push-ups are difficult with a bulging stomach anyway.

Everything becomes softer: in preparation for the birth, the body releases the messenger substance relaxin during pregnancy. It increases the elasticity of the tendons and ligaments and thus the risk of injury.

Sports coaching during pregnancy

The Psychological Institute of the German Sport University Cologne offers free online coaching on all aspects of sport and pregnancy. You will receive general training recommendations, motivational aids, information on training effects, news and current findings, as well as FAQs and their answers by email. If you have individual questions, these will also be answered in detail.

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