Working Out While Pregnant
One of the most frequent questions I receive by moms-to-be is how best to stay fit during pregnancy. Many women who are already active can continue performing the same level of activity as before pregnancy. Even running while pregnant is safe for expectant mothers who are already runners, as long as they are healthy and all is proceeding well.
As a spinning junkie, I continued to spin until the day my children were born… Literally.
For those women who are not particularly active, there are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy, and taking it slowly can help prevent injuries. If you are healthy, the benefits of moderate to intense activity usually outweigh the risks. If you are planning a new exercise regime during pregnancy, please discuss this with your doctor or midwife. Remember, losing weight during pregnancy is not your goal. One must gain a consistent amount of weight throughout the 9 months. Exercise will help keep weight gain in check and also help you bounce back more quickly after the delivery,
Benefits of exercising in pregnancy
- Women who exercise during pregnancy have:
- Less discomfort in their joints
- Fewer backaches
- Less constipation
- Improved sleep
- Faster return to the pregnancy weight after delivery
- Potentially easier labor and delivery
- Increased endurance (infinitely helpful in long labors)
- Less swelling in the feet and hands
Discuss with your doctor if you have:
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Vaginal bleeding
- Premature rupture of membranes (broken water)
What exercise is best?
As a spinning junkie, I continued to spin until the day my children were born… Literally. Those that do pregnant yoga, pilates, jogging, swimming or other aerobic activity, can safely continue these activities as long as your physician deems you well enough.
If you are new to exercise, walking during pregnancy is an excellent way to increase endurance and strength, while keeping your weight manageable. Try to exercise at least three days a week, ideally with a minimum of three hours per week total.
Exercises to avoid
Obviously, don’t perform exercises that put you at risk of abdominal injury. Contact sports, scuba diving and horseback riding should be avoided.
See your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your back or abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking
I suggest that you take your pregnancy day by day and reflect daily on how you are feeling and what your body is ready for. Now put down the computer and get going – your body and baby will thank you for it!
Read about pregnancy symtoms such as food cravings.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.