Planning to start a family is a crucial decision, in fact a life changing one and preparing yourself well for the most important time of your life, will ensure a healthier you and a healthier baby.If you have made up your mind for the next big move, this blog will give you an insight on exercise part of this beginning.
A workout routine developed before getting pregnant will help you stay in the healthier BMI range, will help you beat stress through release of the feel good hormone-endorphins and will help you sleep better through the night, thus will create an optimal environment for natural conception. Additionally, will help you sustain a healthy pregnancy and develop your stamina for the rigors of childbirth and recovery, and finally it will assist you in getting back in shape and to your pre pregnancy fitness levels!
A good deal eh? So lets learn how you can plan your exercise regime:
A) If you are a beginner: take it easy and gradually. 20 -30 minutes minimum three times a week will be good to go.
1) Start with a low impact aerobic exercise-walking, dancing, cycling. Will race up your heart and exercise your lungs.
2) Another good one is –Swimming- will make you feel lighter and workout whole body without straining your joints.
3) Relaxing workouts include within which right postures will help in toning your reproductive organs too.
4) Pilates workout under guidance will help strengthen your core and pelvic muscles.
5) Weight training under supervision will work up your muscles to prepare them for infant care. Use lighter weights and learn correct training technique but remember weight training is to be avoided during pregnancy.
6) Practice exercises for pregnancy and active labor- will include squatting, lunges, pelvic floor exercises and breathing exercises. Starting to do them now will make it easier to continue after the big news.
B) If you are a pro: you are doing one of the best job for yourself and your fertility. But like with every other good thing, too much of it can still be doing harm than good, when you are trying to conceive. This is so because exercises are considered as stress to system and body shuts its reproductive functions in stressful events. Moreover workouts are linked to changes in a lady’s hormonal system that may interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. Then is it fine for a man to exercise intensely during pre conception phase? No actually not. Male partner must also re evaluate his workouts and dial down the intensity of his routine so as to avoid risk of decreasing his sperm counts (which happens due to excessive heat generation during exercises).
Now the question is when do you draw the line?
Well it will depend on your BMI
#If you fall in overweight BMI range (>27), there is no reason to tone down your exercises, since obesity impairs fertility more than excessive exercising.
#If you fall in normal weight BMI range, bring down your workout intensity from vigorous to moderate. Like-If you are running start jogging and avoid vigorous gymnastics, aerobics, cycling and even swimming. Make them more leisurely so that you are not devoting more than 5 hours a week to these workouts.
#If you fall in underweight BMI range (<18), check your workout intensity and make it to a lighter tone yet again, so that along with good nutrition, you can soon move up to healthy weight range for early conception.
Now A word of caution for Female Athletes – if your form of exercise (including power yoga) is above moderate and leaves you extremely weak, winded and gasping for breath or alters your menstrual cycles, then it’s time to tone down the frequency, pace and duration of your workouts. This surely doesn’t mean you can’t run/cycle or must leave your weight lifting career, for making a baby, but then, of course this won’t be the ideal time to prepare for a marathon/triathlon or for buffing up for an upcoming championship.
Furthermore certain contact Sports like Judo, Karate, Football etc which may cause sudden jolts/falls and abdominal punching may become unsuitable when you eventually fall pregnant. So trying now to hone your skills in them or for that matter in activities like downhill skiing, horseback riding, scuba diving, mountain biking etc may not be useful. Save them for your post pregnancy to do list!
Lastly a well-rounded preparation consists of other factors too. So a Wholesome DIET, Folate SUPPLEMENTS, Sound SLEEP, No to ALCOHOL/SMOKING, Avoiding CAFFEINE and Reducing STRESS will form crucial foundation of your pre natal preparation along with,as I mentioned above, EXERCISING regularly.
Hope you find this article useful and answering all your questions regarding exercises before your Big Fat Positive. Take care and I’ll see you in the next chapter of Pregnancy!