Be sure to refrain from doing any exercises before getting specific medical guidance if you have any of these:

  • Any type of heart or respiratory condition
  • Diabetes that developed before or during pregnancy
  • High blood pressure, whether the onset was before pregnancy or occurred as a symptom of toxemia
  • A history of premature labor
  • Placenta previa (the placenta is implanted completely over or near your cervix)

Being pregnant makes some exercises off limits. Since pregnancy changes your center of balance, strains your lower back, and thins your abdominal muscles, you'll need to avoid certain exercises that you may be used to doing when you're not pregnant. These include:

  • double-leg raises
  • full sit-ups
  • any exercise that causes swayback (requires you to arch your back)
  • jumping, hopping, skipping, and bouncing
  • exercise or dance movements that require good balance and quick moves
  • any exercise that requires you to be on your back longer than one minute

Whether you attend an exercise class or do exercises at home, exercising during pregnancy will help keep you fit and control your weight--and it will make you feel terrific, too!

Let's now look at the different changes that take place with pregnancy and with exercise and pregnancy:

 

MUSCULOSKELETAL CHANGES

The most noticeable change is a womans weight gain ( anywhere from twenty to thirty or fourty pounds). During pregnancy the uterus can expand up to one thousand times, this causes an enlarged uterus and shifts the center of gravity further to the front of the body causing changes in walking pattern.To compensate for this , the woman experiences an increased center of gravity on the upper spine to prevent the her falling. This causes increased strain on the muscles surrounding the vertebral column ( that explains back pain that most pregnant woman get) the resulting condition is

Hyperlordosis - (swayback excessive curvature of the lumbar spine lower part of spine, closest to the buttocks). This leads to Lordosis (the natural curvature of the lumber spine lower part of spine, closest to the buttocks)

The pelvis also drops over the upper thigh bone (femur) causing a hunch back appearance and rounded shoulders.

Lastly there is a substance called relaxin that causes laxity on all joints in the body during pregnancy

CARDIOVASCULAR CHANGES

Major changes noticable during rest are increased Blood Volume  (the total amount of blood within in the body)this could be as much as 45%, cardiac output (the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute. The product of heart rate and stroke volume) heart rate and stroke volume. Heart rate increases up to 20% in the second and third trimesters .Early on there is an increase of around 7 beats per minute, later the increases reaches up to a 15 beat per minute increase (Wang and Apgar, 1998; O'Toole, 2003; Paisley et al., 2003). Stroke volume increases as much as 10% by the end of the first trimester. With the increase in heart rate and stroke volume there is an increase in cardiac output, reaching as high as 30 to 50% (Lumbers, 2002; Paisley et al., 2003). Cardiac output and heart rate begin to slowly increase in the sixth week and peak at the end of the second trimester

RESPIRATORY CHANGES

These changes are primarily controlled by Progesterone ( a steriod hormone) occuring during the early stages of pregnancy usually the first 7 weeks Vital Capacity ( the volume of air that can be expired from the lungs after a maximal inspiration) remains normal,Tidal Volume –(the volume of air inspired and expired in a normal breath) increases by about 50 %, this causes an increase in Minute Ventilation (the volume of air inhaled and exhaled in one minute) throughout pregnancy. The growth of the uterus as explained above puts pressure on the diaphragm, this causes an increase in resting oxygen consumption and increases the effort required to breath. The diaphragm finds it hard to contract because of the pressure of the uterus.This means there is a decreased amount of oxygen available for performance during aerobic exercise.

 

TEMPERATURE  ADAPTATIONS

Metabolic Rate ( the rate at which energy is used calories are burned) increases with pregnancy and calorie consumption also increases. The fetus metabolic rate produces more heat.The mother’s temperature decreases 0.3 ºC (0.5 ºF) in the first trimester and decreases 0.1 ºC (0.2 ºF) per month through gestation helping to prevent a mother’s core temperature from rising with the increased metabolic rate .Increased skin blood  floe helps reduce maternal body temperature

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