We interrupt your daily internet adventures to bring you a video of this amazing pregnant mama kicking butt on the dance floor:
We wish we could dance like Chachi! When this video first came out, there was some controversy about whether or not it was safe for a pregnant mom to be shaking her tail feathers (flawlessly, we might add) out on the dance floor like this. Well we’re here to debunk some myths and share some fun facts about prenatal workouts and exercise!
FUN FACT #1: It is completely safe to exercise during pregnancy
Especially if you were active before you found out you were pregnant. In fact, doctors actually encourage it regardless of how active you were before pregnancy! Not only will exercising build up your endurance for labor, but it will also improve blood flow, help position your baby, and decrease the risk of birth complications. So essentially, Chachi’s got the right idea! If your body can push out a baby, it can handle a little exercise 😉
FUN FACT #2: Labor is like a marathon.
Especially if you have a long labor, fatigue from contracting and pushing for so many hours can easily become your Mount Everest during childbirth. You would never run a marathon without training, so why do it with labor? When it comes to carrying a tiny human in your uterus for 9 months, there’s a lot of stigma around prenatal exercise and it’s incredibly common to become overly cautious. Some caution is good, but there’s no reason to keep you confined to the sofa for the whole 9 months. Unless your doctor has explicitly instructed you to do so, that’s actually one of the worst things you can do! Gotta keep those muscles nimble and flexible 🙂 Pregnant parents need at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week to facilitate a healthy pregnancy, so it’s actually pretty important to keep moving and to stay active during each trimester. As far as pregnancy-friendly forms of exercise go, we highly recommend swimming, walking, dancing, yoga, pilates, strength training, or riding a stationary bike! Whichever form of movement makes sense for you and your body 🙂
FUN FACT #3: Prenatal exercise can help alleviate unpleasant symptoms and help you have a smooth labor
Whether you’re walking for 15 minutes a day or jamming it out at zumba, keeping your body in motion has been known to have amazing effects on the pregnancy/labor experience. Including the following:
Easing back pain by strengthening the muscles that are usually strained/thrown off-balance by your baby growing so quickly
Relieving any swelling in the limbsby ramping up the movement and use of fluids throughout your body
Easing constipation by increasing blood flow around the body which causes the intestinal muscles to contract and push more waste through
Sleeping better(because who isn’t tired after a good workout? 😉 )
Increasing strength for laborwhich will allow you to explore more birth positions and improve your comfort while you’re birthing your baby
Shortened laborby equiping your body with extra flexibility, strength, and endurance for the more taxing parts of labor
Developing breathing/mindfulness techniques for labor
Decreasing the likelihood of an emergency C-section
AN IMPORTANT REMINDER: Listen to your body!!
Your body will tell you very clearly when it’s time to take a break or call it quits for the day. If you’re someone who is already very active and athletic, your normal workout routine should be fine for the majority of your pregnancy as long as you’re not over-exerting yourself or doing risky activities. If you haven’t exercised for a while, try building up to it by doing 10-15 minutes of exercise per day. When we say “stay active during pregnancy” we don’t mean that you need to build a 6-pack over your baby bump (if that’s even possible – what a strange image). All you need to do is get moving enough to work up a sweat and get those muscles moving! You should absolutely not be in pain, feel shaky, or have any incontinence due to exertion while you’re exercising. If you feel any pressure in your lower pelvis, or are experiencing incontinence when you move/exercise, please contact your doctor!
FUN FACT #4: As long as your doctor has not said otherwise, exercise does NOT increase the likelihood of miscarriage or premature labor
Staying active actually DECREASES the likelihood of developing preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes, which are two of the big causes of pregnancy complications and premature labor. We definitely want you to avoid activities that put you and your baby at risk though, so unfortunately it’s time to put the skiing, horseback riding, basketball playing, scuba diving, heavy lifting, hot yoga, gymnastics, and other high-impact sports away for the next 9 months (so sorry for all of you dare devils and adrenaline junkies out there). But as long as you’re in the clear with your doctor, you are good to indulge in the safer forms of exercise!
There are, however, a few scenarios in which exercise is NOT safe during pregnancy.
This includes if you are currently or have previously experienced: certain cervical conditons, certain heart or lung conditions, anemia, gestational hypertension or preeclampsia, placenta previa after 26 weeks, bleeding during the 2nd or 3rd trimester, if your water has broken, or if you are having multiple births.
But as long as you’ve gotten the OK from your doctor,