How to Know When to Stop
We have all heard the “no pain, no gain” mantra that is so common in health centers today. And as a society, we all seem too eager to buy into that theory. While it is true that you have to expend energy to get the benefit of exercise, pain has no place in exercise, particularly during pregnancy.
Pain is your body's way of saying something is wrong. When you are pregnant, it is even more important that you pay attention to these signals from your body. Remember, your baby is counting on you to listen.
Pain should be something that makes you stop exercising immediately. No matter where the location of the pain or what the feeling is like, stop doing whatever you are doing. Sometimes pain is a signal that you have a hurt muscle or a leg cramp. While these may not have a direct negative effect on your pregnancy, they can harm your body.
This type of cramping pain may be more likely to occur during pregnancy. For example, if you have a leg cramp, it may be a sign that your electrolytes are out of balance and that you need to watch your nutritional intake more closely or stretch more often. An injured muscle could result from your body's release of the hormone relaxin, which helps to facilitate the birth but also has the effect of making injuries more likely.
Hormones released during pregnancy, like relaxin, make it more likely for you to pull or strain muscles. By avoiding jerking and bouncing motions during exercise, you can help protect yourself from unnecessary pain and injury.
Due to the changes in your center of gravity and the hormones coursing through your body, falls may be more likely when pregnant. For this reason, some exercises (e.g., horseback riding) are never recommended during pregnancy.
While you may be at an increased risk for falls, learning to take certain precautions can certainly help reduce this likelihood. During your normal daily life avoid high heels, walk on pathways whenever you can, and avoid uneven surfaces or stones. Whenever you work out, remember to wear the appropriate footwear.
You've just tumbled down the steps for the third time this week. Every time you turn a corner, you forget your belly is larger than it used to be and you bump into walls with it. You are not alone — every pregnant woman feels like a klutz. How can you not? Fear not, though. You will return to your graceful self once your baby is born.
If you do fall, try not to panic. Check yourself out completely before standing back up. In general, your baby is well protected by the amniotic sac in your uterus. However, if you experience any abdominal pain, bleeding, contractions, or changes in the baby's movements, report this immediately to your practitioner.
Feeling Weak or Dizzy
Feeling weak or dizzy is a sign that you probably need to skip your exercise today. These feelings can be a normal part of your pregnancy, or they may indicate a problem. Sometimes you feel weak from the exhaustion of pregnancy, more typically in the first and third trimesters. Other issues for feeling weak or dizzy would be a dramatic fluctuation in your blood sugar levels.
Remember to eat a little something a few hours before you work out. But don't pig out! This can also make you feel ill. Some yogurt and a piece of fruit is just the right thing. This will help your body have the energy you need to sustain your energy through your fitness session.
If you begin to feel weak or lightheaded during your workout, stop immediately. Sit down or lie down. Have someone bring you water. You should not try to drive or walk. If you actually pass out, be sure to call your doctor or midwife as soon as you awake. Call your doctor or midwife right away if the symptoms don't go away within a few minutes. Otherwise, report your symptoms to your practitioner during normal office hours. They may suggest you alter your exercise plan going forward.
Sometimes simply not feeling right is a perfect indicator to stop. It could be you're having an off day. Maybe you've not eaten recently enough or perhaps you're tired. Whatever the reason, listen to your body and stop exercising.