Exercise provides a multitude of health benefits throughout much of life, including during pregnancy. However, you may need to avoid certain types of exercises while you are expecting. Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have an existing health conditions or have experienced complications with your pregnancy.
Regular physical activity can help keep your muscles in shape and help you manage your weight. Certain types of exercise, such as weightlifting and resistance training, can help you build strong bones and muscles. If you suffer from poor health or you haven’t exercised in a long time, pregnancy may not be the best time to begin a difficult exercise routine.
If you are accustomed to regular exercise and your pregnancy is progressing normally, staying active can provide several benefits. According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, exercising during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes,help boost your level of energy, improve your posture and your mood, help you sleep better and help reduce backaches, bloating and constipation.
While regular exercise during your pregnancy can help keep you fit, some activities can be dangerous. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women avoid downhill skiing, water skiing and horseback riding. These activities carry a risk of falling and also involve quick movements and jolts that can harm you and your unborn baby. Other exercises to avoid during pregnancy include those that to lie on your back, such as sit-ups, and contact sports that could harm you and your baby.
If you live an active lifestyle, ask your doctor about continuing your regular exercises, such as running, weightlifting, tennis and racquetball. Depending on your routine and your current fitness level, your doctor may allow you to continue these activities for a while. Suitable exercises for many pregnant women include walking, water aerobics, swimming, stationary bicycling and low-impact aerobics. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to warm up with about five to 10 minutes of slow walking and perform gentle stretches prior to exercise sessions.
Dress comfortably for exercise. Wear loose clothing, stable shoes and a supportive bra. Avoid dehydration by sipping on water during your exercise sessions. Even fit women can experience complications of pregnancy. Stop exercising and contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms that may indicate a problem with your pregnancy. Things to watch for include vaginal bleeding, headache, muscle weakness, uterine contractions, decreased fetal movement, dizziness, difficulty breathing and pain or swelling in your calf muscles.