Let’s Get Physical: The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

Apr 30, 2019 7:37:54 AM / by Metro OBGYN Team posted in Pregnancy

At Metro OBGYN we are often asked whether exercising during pregnancy is safe, and the answer is yes!

Exercising during pregnancy offers numerous benefits for your health and the health of your baby.

Whether you’re currently pregnant or planning to add a little bundle of joy to your family soon, it’s important to understand the guidelines for exercising during pregnancy.


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Talk to your provider first

Always consult a provider about your exercise routines before and during pregnancy.

Generally speaking, if you are physically active before becoming pregnant, you’re more likely to continue exercising during pregnancy.

However, you may want to switch up your routine after becoming pregnant as you’ll need to make sure the exercises you’re doing are safe. Because each pregnancy is different, speak with a provider about your health, the physical activities you participate in, and whether you can continue exercising during your pregnancy.

Benefits of exercising during pregnancy

If you are healthy and have the green light from your doctor, exercising during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial to your and your baby’s health.

Not only does exercise help keep your body healthy, but it can reduce your risk of complications during birth, help to get your body ready for labor, and make it easier to get back in shape post-pregnancy.

Pregnant women can reap the following benefits from exercise:

  • Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduced risk of preeclampsia
  • Improved energy and mood
  • Increased muscle tone and strength
  • Lowered risk of cesarean (c-section) birth
  • Reduced back pain
  • Decreased constipation
  • Decreased swelling in your arms and legs

Recommended exercises for pregnant women

Pregnant women should aim for at least 2 ½ hours of cardio (aerobic activity) each week. But you don’t have to meet this requirement all at once — you can spend 30 minutes exercising each day to maintain your activity level throughout the week.

Activities safe for pregnant women:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Riding a stationary bicycle
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Kegel exercises

While most exercises are safe to complete during pregnancy, there are also some workouts that should be avoided due to higher risk of injury.

Avoid these activities while pregnant:

  • Horseback riding
  • Downhill skiing
  • Gymnastics
  • Skating
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • CrossFit
  • Hot yoga
  • Lifting weights above your head
  • Laying flat on your back for extended periods of time
  • Exercising at a high altitude (over 6,000 ft.)

Immediately call your provider if you experience any of the following symptoms while exercising:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid from your vagina
  • Contractions
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased fetal movement

If you have any health issues or experience any complications during your pregnancy, speak with your provider before you start an exercise routine.

Guidelines for exercising during pregnancy

If you’re planning on exercising during your pregnancy, there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow:

Start slowly and be careful

Don’t overexert yourself during physical activities. It’s okay to go slow — a simple walk around the block can have benefits to your health and your baby’s health.

If you prefer to work out in a group setting, there are plenty of exercise classes designed specifically for expecting mothers.

Listen to your body

It’s important to know when to stop; you can do this by listening to your body. If you’re more tired than usual, take a break and rest.

A good rule of thumb is if you cannot perform a specific exercise without becoming so winded that you can’t speak, it’s a good indication that you should decrease the intensity.

Don’t exercise to exhaustion

When you work out to the point of exhaustion, you’re doing more harm than good. If you are completely out of breath, it’s an indicator that you and your baby are not getting enough oxygen. Speak with a provider about exercise routines that are safe to perform while pregnant.

Avoid unstable and slippery ground

Rugged terrain and slippery surfaces can be dangerous for pregnant women. Exercising on rough and unstable or slippery ground can cause ankle sprains, falls, and other injuries.

Maintain a healthy diet

Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, and protein. To do this, you’ll want to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates in your diet. It’s also important to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Consult with a provider about the right exercise routine for you

If you’re planning on exercising during your pregnancy, consult with your provider. Metro OBGYN provides quality pregnancy services for soon-to-be mothers.

Schedule an appointment with a provider today to discuss the best prenatal exercise regimen to maintain your health and your baby’s health.

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Metro OBGYN Team

Written by Metro OBGYN Team

Metro OBGYN is an independently owned practice that provides compassionate, convenient care across the spectrum of women's health services.

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