When you are pregnant, everything that you do affects your baby. It is important to make healthy choices for you and your little one. Exercise is one healthy choice that can give you more energy during pregnancy. You will feel better and avoid extra weight gain. A pregnancy exercise program can also help you to gain strength and stamina for your upcoming delivery.
If your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you have no other medical problems, it is probably safe to exercise. However, it is always necessary to check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
Tips for safe exercise during pregnancy
After doctor approval, the American Pregnancy Academy gives these tips for exercising during pregnancy.
If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself.
Listen to your body. Your body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise you perform.
Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen supply it needs.
Wear comfortable exercise footwear that gives strong ankle and arch support.
Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
Avoid exercise in extremely hot weather.
Avoid rocky terrain or unstable ground. Your joints are more lax in pregnancy and ankle sprains and other injuries may occur.
Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy.
Weight training should emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area. Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the lower back muscles.
During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves laying flat on your back, as this decreases blood flow to your womb.
Include relaxation and stretching before and after your exercise program.
Eat a healthy diet that including plenty of fruits and carbohydrates.
It is important to remember to slow down your level of exercising during pregnancy. Give yourself permission to rest.
If you have exercised before pregnancy, you can continue as long as you feel comfortable and your doctor approves.
For healthy pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
If you have not been exercising, start with just five minutes a day and build up your physical activity a little at a time until you reach 30 minutes daily.
Exercises that might be right for you
You don’t have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment, walking is great exercise for beginners, it provides moderate conditioning with minimal stress on to your joints. Try walking around your neighborhood. Grab a friend, a good chat will help the time fly.
Many fitness centers and hospitals offer classes that are designed for pregnant women. It can be a fun way to meet other mothers in your area and having a scheduled time can keep your exercising more consistent.
Other good exercise choices for pregnant women include swimming and cycling on a stationary bike. If these exercises are not appealing to you, think outside the box. Try dancing, easy hikes or rowing. Check with your doctor to make sure anything you do is approved.
Stay well hydrated and try to exercise during the coolest parts of the day in summer. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion. Take it easy and take lots of rests. Pushing yourself too hard is not good for you or your baby.