Pregnancy is an exciting and transformative time for women, and staying active during pregnancy can have numerous benefits for both mother and baby.
Prenatal exercise supports a balanced mood, helps you maintain a healthy weight gain, reduces back pain, eases constipation, and even helps reduce your risk of complications, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
The American College of Gynecologists also links prenatal exercise with reduced risk of emergency cesarean sections.
But when the summer heat sets in, exercise caution and modify your exercise routine to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your baby.
Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, our experienced team of doctors and certified nurse midwives provide tailored exercise guidance for you based on your trimester and your overall health.
In the meantime, here are some general tips for safe prenatal exercise this summer.
Hydration is essential for everyone, but it becomes even more critical during pregnancy, especially in hot weather. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise sessions to prevent dehydration.
Avoid caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. If you're engaging in prolonged exercise, consider sipping on water throughout to maintain your fluid levels.
Choose the right time to break a sweat
Beat the scorching Texas heat by scheduling your workouts during the cooler parts of the day. Early mornings or evenings are ideal times for exercising during the summer. Avoid exercising during the hottest hours when the sun is at its peak to reduce the risk of overheating or heatstroke.
Wear loose, lightweight, and breathable clothing that allows air circulation and helps wick away sweat. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that draw moisture away from your body, keeping you cool and comfortable.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and applying sunscreen to exposed skin.
Opt for low-impact activities
Engaging in low-impact exercises during pregnancy is generally safer and more comfortable. Consider activities like swimming, prenatal yoga, walking, or stationary cycling.
These exercises are gentle on your joints, reduce the risk of injury, and provide a full-body workout without placing excessive stress on your body.
Listen to your body
Pregnancy brings about changes in your body, and it's essential to listen to its signals. Pay attention to how you feel during exercise. If you experience dizziness or shortness of breath, or feel overly fatigued, it's time to take a break and rest.
Overexertion can raise your body temperature and potentially harm you and your baby. Pregnancy is not the time to push your limits; instead, focus on maintaining a moderate level of activity.
Modify intensity and duration
As your pregnancy progresses, your body's needs and limitations change.
Modify the intensity and duration of your workouts accordingly. Aim for a moderate intensity level where you can still hold a conversation without being too breathless. You may be able to better tolerate shorter, more frequent exercise sessions than longer ones.
Stay in a cool environment
If exercising outdoors, choose shaded areas or parks with a breeze to avoid direct exposure to the sun. Consider indoor options like air-conditioned gyms or swimming pools to exercise in a cooler environment. Make sure the exercise space is well-ventilated and comfortable to prevent overheating.
Seek professional guidance
Consult our team here at Westover Hills Women’s Health before starting or continuing any exercise regimen during pregnancy, particularly during the summer months. We’re happy to provide personalized advice based on your health status and help you make informed decisions regarding your exercise routine.
In some cases, your physical activities may be limited, but we can help you modify your activities so you can get the benefits of exercise as safely as possible.
Do you want to talk?
To book your next prenatal appointment or to learn more about the right types of exercise for you, give us a call at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, or simply try our online tool.
Your health and the well-being of your baby are of utmost importance, so prioritize safety and take care of yourself during this special time.