Pregnant! Can I still exercise?

Women do less during pregnancy. That seems logical because during the pregnancy your body changes and you may be worried that sports and too heavy loads are not good for the fetus. Nothing is less true. In this article I explain why sport and exercise during pregnancy is positive and which sports you can (continue to) practice.

Why is sport and exercise important during pregnancy?

Sports and exercise reduces discomfort during pregnancy. Example of this are:

Why is sport and exercise important during childbirth?

Women who exercise during pregnancy, compared with non-sporting women, have a shorter delivery. A study by Clapp shows that the first half of the delivery was on average 118 minutes shorter than that of non-sporting women. A study by shows that the delivery of sports women (before and during pregnancy) can take as long as 8 hours (!) Less than that of women who are not active before and during pregnancy.

Moreover, the delivery of sports women is less frequented via caesarean section than non-sporting women. In addition, sports women have a bite to death less often. It is also important to note that sports, as far as it appears, does not have a negative effect on the birth weight.

Physical changes during pregnancy

There are many changes in the body during pregnancy. The following describes the changes that are important in the exercise of sport.

Temperature regulation

The standard temperature of the mother during exercise becomes about 0.6 ° C warmer. This is important to know when exercising, because the mother has to make sure that there is no hyperthermia (too hot). If the body gets too hot, the heat is normally transported via a number of channels, while in sports it is sweating. The body sweats because the heart pumps faster to transport the blood and oxygen. The blood vessels expand and therefore the skin becomes redder and perspiration occurs. This reduces the flow of oxygen to the fetus, which can lead to a reduced development of the fetus. Make sure that the body does not get too hot during exercise.

Cardiovascular changes

Cardiovascular changes involve changes related to the heart and blood vessels that surround the child. During pregnancy, more oxygen is needed for you and the fetus, therefore there is an increase in the blood volume (amount of blood) needed in the body. This is increased by 50 percent during pregnancy. The heart pumps the blood around the body, because more blood is needed the heart will have to pump faster. The heart rate is therefore increased by about 10-15 beats per minute. In addition, the left ventricle becomes larger, in order to be able to circulate the blood better. Sports can help strengthen the heart. After all, the heart is also a muscle.

Besides that there is more blood in the body, there are also more red blood cells that transport the oxygen. The blood vessels become wider. This can result in lower blood pressure. Low blood pressure leads to dizziness or a feeling of being sick. Especially in sport it is important to pay attention to this. The good news is that sports can counter low blood pressure.

Change of the stofwisseling

The metabolism becomes faster during pregnancy. In short, the amount of energy that you need at rest becomes higher. It is often said ‘you eat for two’, that does not seem to be true. A pregnant woman has about 300 kcal. a day more needed. If you eat more than the need, this is stored as fat. It is important to (continue to) eat carbohydrates because the fetus has a great need for this. Make sure that you have received enough carbohydrates during exercise.

Other body changes

The straight abdominal muscles become longer and wider, this is necessary to give the fetus room to grow. The tendon bands are separated. It is therefore important not to train straight abdominal muscles, as this will interfere with the growth of the baby and tear the tendon ligaments.

Pelvic instability is common in pregnant women. Here, too, it is important to strengthen the muscles. Pay attention to a good alternation of effort and relaxation and never do anything that does not feel comfortable.

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