Your Complete Guide to Exercise During Pregnancy
Does your daily workout leave you feeling energized? We applaud anyone who makes exercise a part of their regular schedule—it’s a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions.
But you may be wondering, is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? The answer is a resounding yes, provided you follow some basic precautions. There are also a few situations where exercise is not advisable, and we’ll delve into all you need to know about exercising while you’re pregnant.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Countless studies have touted the benefits of exercise—even if you only do it three times a week. Working out during pregnancy is no exception. Exercise can actually reduce backaches and swelling that frequently accompany pregnancy.
Other additional benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:
- Reduced bloating and swelling
- Better sleep
- Improved muscle tone and strength
- Increased endurance
- Better moods and energy levels
- Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
- Reduced risk of having a C-section
- Shorter labor
However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, exercise should be undertaken with extreme caution. In fact, you should speak to us before you start any type of exercise routine. We have tips and information for you that will help both you and your baby.
If you have questions or you’re not sure about whether or not an exercise is safe, don’t do it until after you have spoken with us. Remember, we’re just a phone call away!
Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
We want to speak with you before you start any type of exercise routine while pregnant. However, in general, some good exercises are:
- Running, if taking precautions
- Stationary bikes
- Water aerobics
- Prenatal yoga
Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
While we’ve touted the benefits of a good exercise routine, there are some precautions you should take, particularly during your third trimester. Therefore we recommend that you should avoid the following exercises during pregnancy:
- Any contact sports, including basketball and volleyball
- Anything that poses an increased risk of falling, such as skiing or skating
- While swimming is good exercise, avoid surfing or diving
- Avoid anything that can cause trauma or force to the abdomen
- Anything that causes you to lie flat on your back
- Hot yoga or Pilates
If you do practice yoga, you will have to adjust some of the poses so you’re not on your back and not in any position that would harm your pregnancy. We encourage you to ask us questions about yoga and any form of exercise you’re unsure of.
In addition, if you have any of the following conditions, you should not exercise during pregnancy:
- Certain types of heart diseases
- Certain kinds of lung disease
- Cervical insufficiency, which is when the cervix has difficulty holding a pregnancy
- Cerclage, when the cervix is sewn so it can hold a pregnancy
- Expecting multiple births like twins or triplets
- Risk factors for preterm labor
- Placenta previa, where the placenta covers the uterine opening
- If your water has broken during physical activity
- Preeclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
The key to safely exercising during pregnancy is to know your own body and watch for signs that you should discontinue exercising. Remember, if you feel dizzy, have shortness of breath, painful contractions, headaches or bleeding from your vagina, stop the exercise and call us.
We Want You to Have a Safe and Healthy Pregnancy
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy, and we encourage it—we can even make suggestions for a regular exercise routine. We believe that taking good care of your body now will help you avoid health complications later.
When you’re pregnant, many of these exercises need some adjustments, and we’ll be happy to work with you to come up with a solution that will enable you to exercise while still safeguarding your pregnancy. Our goal is always to have a healthy mom and baby!
We are women providing health care for women at every stage of their lives. Contact us for an appointment and experience firsthand our dedication to world-class care.
This article was reviewed by Kimberly McGill, MD.