What Exercise Is Good For Pregnancy

What Types Of Exercise Can You Do

Pregnancy Exercises First Trimester (safe for all trimesters)

The best exercises to engage in are activities you actually enjoy doing. Pregnant women can generally do brisk walking, swimming, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobics, yoga or Pilates, and running. Most of these activities can be modified for your growing belly.

There are some activities you should avoid, including:

  • contact sports that could cause injury, such as basketball, hockey, or soccer
  • sports that are risky or likely to cause falls, such as skiing, surfing, or gymnastics
  • scuba diving
  • hot yoga or hot Pilates, because increases in body temperature might harm a fetus.

Exercise During Pregnancy: Safe Beneficial

Some days, being pregnant might feel like its own exercise routine you might be feeling extreme fatigue, swollen feet or an aching back. While it might feel like just living your day-to-day life while pregnant is enough of a workout, there’s evidence that pregnancy can be a fantastic time to get active even if you haven’t exercised in a while.

What’s in it for me ?

Physical activity improves mood, posture, muscle tone, strength and endurance. It also may help you sleep better. Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to decrease rates of gestational diabetes, C-sections and high blood pressure . While you’re pregnant, exercise helps promote healthy weight gain and can alleviate some of the pains associated with changes in your body, including constipation, bloating, swelling and backaches. Overall, exercising regularly keeps you fit during pregnancy, increases your energy level and can help you cope better with labor. Workouts after your baby is born can speed up your recovery and also can help prevent postpartum depression.

What exercise should I do?

Exercise that incorporates cardiovascular fitness is most beneficial. Walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics, yoga, Pilates and running are safe exercises during pregnancy. Be sure to listen to your body and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

If you are interested in other exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum, you can try Kegel exercises.

Is Exercise Safe For Everyone

Every pregnant woman should consult with her healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program. Your healthcare provider can give you personal exercise guidelines, based on your medical history.

If you have a medical problem, such as asthma, heart or lung disease, or high blood pressure, exercise might not be advisable for you. Exercise might also be harmful if you have an obstetric condition such as:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Previous premature births or history of early labor

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Why Is Physical Activity During Pregnancy Good For You

For healthy pregnant women, regular exercise can:

  • Keep your mind and body healthy. Physical activity can help you feel good and give you extra energy. It also makes your heart, lungs and blood vessels strong and helps you stay fit.
  • Help you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.
  • Ease some common discomforts of pregnancy, such as constipation, back pain and swelling in your legs, ankles and feet.
  • Help you manage stress and sleep better. Stress is worry, strain or pressure that you feel in response to things that happen in your life.
  • Help reduce your risk of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. It happens when your body has too much sugar in the blood. Preeclampsia is a type of high blood pressure some women get after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth. These conditions can increase your risk of having complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth .
  • Help reduce your risk of having a cesarean birth . Cesarean birth is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.
  • Prepare your body for labor and birth. Activities such as prenatal yoga and Pilates can help you practice breathing, meditation and other calming methods that may help you manage labor pain. Regular exercise can help give you energy and strength to get through labor.

Cautions For Pregnancy Exercise

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While most forms of exercise are safe, there are some exercises that involve positions and movements that may be uncomfortable or harmful for pregnant women. Be guided by your doctor or physiotherapist, but general cautions include:

  • Avoid raising your body temperature too high for example, dont soak in hot spas or exercise to the point of heavy sweating. Reduce your level of exercise on hot or humid days. Stay well hydrated.
  • Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion.
  • If weight training, choose low weights and medium to high repetitions avoid lifting heavy weights altogether.
  • Perform controlled stretching and avoid over-extending.
  • Avoid exercise if you are ill or feverish.
  • If you dont feel like exercising on a particular day, dont! It is important to listen to your body to avoid unnecessarily depleting your energy reserves.
  • Dont increase the intensity of your sporting program while you are pregnant, and always work at less than 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate.
  • In addition, if you develop an illness or a complication of pregnancy, talk with your doctor or midwife before continuing or restarting your exercise program.

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Exercises To Avoid During Pregnancy

Exercising helps you stay fit. It is good for your heart, body, and mind. But when you are pregnant, you do not know if you should continue to exercise or take a break until you deliver your baby. The fears are understandable because you do not want to take a risk by doing the wrong exercises.

Therefore, MomJunction helps you know about what exercises should be avoided during pregnancy, when to stop exercising and more.

Guidelines For Choosing An Exercise During Pregnancy

If you participated in a regular exercise activity prior to becoming pregnant, it is probably fine to continue to participate during your pregnancy. There are many exercises that are safe to do during your pregnancy, but it is important not to overdo it and to use caution.Many people were uneasy when they discovered that Olympic volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings had received the OK from her obstetrician to play competitive volleyball while pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association would have cautioned against this because of the vulnerability of impact with another player, the ground, or parts of the surrounding court area. However, it is important to highlight a key truth in the counsel her healthcare provider gave.

Your baby is surrounded by fluid in the amniotic sac, which is nestled inside the uterus, which is surrounded by the organs, muscles and your physical body. This actually creates a rather safe environment for your developing baby. However, even with this protection, it is recommended you avoid high-impact exercise.

You will probably want to avoid these types of exercises during pregnancy:

You may want to include these basic guidelines in planning exercise during pregnancy:

Please see this article for more information on exercise guidelines.

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How Safe Is Exercise During Pregnancy

Two lines on a home pregnancy test, a flickering heartbeat on ultrasound, and suddenly your world has changed: youre pregnant! Regardless of where this new path takes you, you may start to examine your daily decisions in a new way as you discover an intense drive to protect the growing baby inside you. Even your exercise routines may come under scrutiny, particularly if late-night Googling has you second-guessing everything that you believed you knew.

Warning Signs When Exercising During Pregnancy

Third Trimester Prenatal Cardio Workout—But Good for ANY Trimester of Pregnancy!

If you experience any of the following during or after physical activity, stop exercising immediately and see your doctor:

  • headache
  • swelling of the face, hands or feet
  • calf pain or swelling
  • deep back, pubic or pelvic pain
  • cramping in the lower abdomen
  • walking difficulties
  • an unusual change in your babys movements
  • amniotic fluid leakage
  • Tel. 8376 8888 for further information on cycling and pregnancy

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How Much Should I Exercise During Pregnancy

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that expecting moms get at least 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day, most days of the week.

What counts toward that 30 minutes? As far as your heart and general health are concerned, three 10-minute walks sprinkled throughout the day are just as beneficial as 30 minutes on the treadmill or bike at the gym. For that matter, even non-exercise activity like 15 minutes of vacuuming and 15 minutes of light yard work counts toward your daily goal.

Which Types Of Exercise Can I Do

  • Walking is a great form of exercise. Not only is it free, but you can easily incorporate it into your everyday life. If you didn’t exercise before, this is a great way to get you started.
  • Running is fine as long as you’re experienced. If you are new to running, it’s not a good idea to take it up now.
  • Prenatal yoga will help you relax and ease body tension with gentle stretching and breathing techniques.
  • Aerobics classes created for pregnant women include low-impact exercises.
  • Pelvic floor and abdominal exercises are really important in pregnancy. Try to fit them into your daily routine as there are many benefits, including strengthening your muscles and joints.

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How Can I Tell If Ive Overdone It

If youre really tired and you feel like stopping, then its time to stop. If you still feel tired, give yourself a break for at least a day. Call your health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • persistent contractions
  • increasing back pain, pubic pain or pain in the abdomen
  • sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face
  • dizziness or shortness of breath
  • excessive fatigue

Exercise Suggestions During Pregnancy

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Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or safety net to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. Read through the pre-exercise self-screening tool before embarking on a new physical activity or exercise program.If you have been cleared to exercise, and you participated in physical activity before you were pregnant, it is recommended that you:

  • Do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know youre at a good exercise intensity when you can talk normally and do not become exhausted too quickly.
  • If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, continue this level of activity throughout pregnancy, or until it becomes uncomfortable for you to do so.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

If you have been cleared to exercise, but you were inactive before your pregnancy:

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When To Call Your Doctor

If you have any of the symptoms below, stop exercising right away and call your doctor or midwife:

Warning signs of preterm labor. It may be possible to stave off preterm labor if you and your doctor or midwife act quickly. Be on the lookout for:

  • Contractions, especially if they continue after you rest and drink water
  • Vaginal bleeding

How Does Exercise Help Your Baby

Heart development. From exposure to your exercise, researched benefits to baby include a lower heart rate through adaptation, or the training effect. These differences are still observable at one month of age and indicate actual differences in heart development in babies born to exercising mothers. Brain benefits. Newborns of exercising mothers had neurological responses measured through an electroencephalogram . Those moms-to-be who exercised had babies with more mature brain development when compared to newborns from non-exercising mothers. These health benefits are believed to last throughout the lifespan of your child. Now thats exciting stuff!

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Cardio For All Three Trimesters

Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, and stationary cycling are top picks during all three trimesters.

Unless your doctor has told you to modify physical activity, follow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

If youre used to doing vigorous-intensity exercises such as running or your fitness level is high, the ACOG says you can continue these activities during pregnancy with your doctors clearance, of course.

What Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

Pelvis Exercise For Pregnant Women

There are certain exercises and activities that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy. They include:

  • Holding your breath during any activity.
  • Activities where falling is likely .
  • Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball.
  • Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
  • Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
  • Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather.

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Benefits Of Working Out While Pregnant

The benefits of moving more during pregnancy begin immediately and last your whole life. Your baby will start reaping the benefits in utero, too. Heres a laundry list of reasons to start exercising today, along with excuse-busting ways to overcome some common obstacles.

  • Research shows you might put on 7 pounds less than pregnant women who dont work out, while still staying within the healthy weight-gain range.
  • One study found that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58 percent less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers.
  • Pregnant womens intestinal tracts often get backed up due to high progesterone levels and a growing uterus, but exercise, along with a high-fiber diet, keeps your digestive system humming.
  • On days when lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, even a 10-minute walk can revive you.
  • Compared with new moms who were inactive during pregnancy, those who exercised are more likely to socialize and enjoy hobbies and entertainment post-baby. They just seem to cope better with the demands of new motherhood.

Best Strength And Flexibility Workouts During Pregnancy

Strength workouts help maintain and build your muscles. Stronger and more flexible muscles, in turn, help you to bear the weight you gain throughout your pregnancy and protect your joints from injuries as your ligaments relax. As long as your doctor tells you it’s okay to work out, here are the best strengthening exercises for pregnant women:

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Workout To Avoid While Pregnant

Some activities will simply be too uncomfortable or tiring. It is important that women who are planning to exercise while they are pregnant are aware of what exercises they should avoid including:

  • Exercises lying on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy should be avoided to reduce the risk of affecting blood flow to the fetus and hypotension from vena cava compression by the uterus.
  • Exercises which involve lying on the stomach
  • Standing still for long periods of time is not recommended
  • Contact sports and high-impact sports such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball can risk abdominal trauma, excessive joint stress and falls
  • Scuba diving should be avoided as the pressure can result in birth defects and foetal decompression sickness
  • Any activities that increase the risk of falls should be avoided in order to reduce the risk of injury to you and your fetus. This includes sports such as gymnastics, horseback riding, and water skiing
  • Heavyweight training lifts that involve maximal isometric muscle contractions are thought to put too much stress on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system

Exercises For A Fitter Pregnancy

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If you are pregnant, try to fit the exercises listed in this section into your daily routine. These types of exercise will strengthen your muscles to help you carry the extra weight of pregnancy. They’ll also make your joints stronger, improve circulation, ease backache, and generally help you feel well.

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Guidelines For Weight Gain In Pregnancy

Weight gain is tracked throughout pregnancy as it has important ramifications on both maternal and fetal health. Excessive weight gain is associated with gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and postpartum weight retention. In 2013, the ACOG endorsed the Institute of Medicines weight gain goals during pregnancy based on a womans body mass index at her first prenatal visit. According to these recommendations, women with a normal BMI should gain 25 to 35 pounds whereas overweight and obese women should aim to gain 15 to 25 pounds and 11 to 20 pounds, respectively. In 1 study, approximately 40% of normal-weight women and 60% of overweight women gained more weight than the upper limit of the respective range recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Exercise can help manage weight gain during pregnancy. Women who attended all 24 supervised exercise sessions during a 12-week program stayed within the Institute of Medicines weight gain guidelines compared with 62% of the control group. Overall, the compliant members of the exercise group had significantly less weight gain and postpartum weight retention compared with the control group.

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