Exercising during pregnancy is good for you and good for baby!
Best of all, exercising during pregnancy increases your flexibility, muscle strength and cardiovascular stamina— all of which can make labor and delivery easier and recovery faster.
Exercise During Pregnancy: Do’s
Do talk with your midwife or OB GYN before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important if you have a preexisting health problem or a high risk pregnancy.
Do start slowly if you were not exercising before you got pregnant. Walking is a great way to begin. Start with a 10-minute walk and work your way up to 30 minutes. Swimming is another great way to exercise when you’re pregnant. If you were exercising before you got pregnant, go ahead and continue with your exercise program.
Do feel free to modify your exercise program as needed to fit your needs. If bouncing during a dance class doesn’t feel right—don’t do it!
Do keep in mind that while you’re pregnant, your heart is working much harder than it usually does. Expect to feel tired and fatigued more quickly than usual.
Do stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor if you feel any of the following:
- vaginal bleeding
- fluid leaking from the vagina
- Severe headache
- Dim or blurry vision
- calf swelling or calf pain
- chest pain
- muscle weakness
- dizziness or feeling like you might faint
Exercise During Pregnancy: Don’ts
Don’t engage in activities that require balance or that could hurt your baby if you were to fall. For example, now is not the time for downhill skiing, inline skating, mountain biking, or most “extreme” sports. Also, steer clear of contact sports.
Don’t do strength training that involves heavy lifting—especially over your head. Light resistance training is fine.
Don’t do any exercise that requires you to lie on your back after the fourth month. Lying on your back can restrict blood flow to your uterus.
Don’t push yourself too hard. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you and take a break if you need to.
If you really don’t like to exercise, try exercising in front of the TV or with a headset so you can listen to your favorite tunes. Exercising with a buddy is another great way to make the time fly.