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Exercising While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Exercising While Pregnant: What You Need to Know

exercising while pregnantFeeling good during your pregnancy not only makes the march toward your delivery date more comfortable – it can help keep you and your baby healthy for nine months, too.

Not every exercise regimen will be suitable for every mother-to-be, but your doctor will help you find a plan that works for you. From running to pool aerobics, there are lots of ways to remain active during pregnancy. While you should always consult your physician before engaging in any exercise, here are some general things to know about staying fit while you’re pregnant.

Benefits to Exercising While Pregnant

From keeping your weight in check to maintaining good cardiovascular health, being active just makes you feel better. During pregnancy, you may enjoy specific health benefits that relate to your changing body. Through exercise, you might be able to:

  • Increase your energy: The changes your body undergoes can deplete your energy. After all, your body is creating another life! Exercise may give you the boost of endorphins you need throughout the day.  
  • Reduce constipation and back pain: These two issues are common throughout pregnancy. Staying in motion and in shape may offer some relief.
  • Keep swelling at bay: Swelling, particularly in your feet, may be routine during pregnancy, but it’s also uncomfortable. Exercise keeps your circulation up and may also work to reduce the excess fluid that leads to noticeable swelling.
  • Sleep better: When you notice a decrease in the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy, you’re likely to get a better night’s sleep. Enjoying much needed REM cycles can also offer enough energy to remain active during the day.
  • Encourage an easier labor: Going into labor while you’re in good shape can sometimes make the delivery smoother. On top of better coping with labor, your body may be able to recover more quickly after the baby arrives if you’ve been exercising.

Starting an Exercise Routine

You should always consult your physician before exercising while you’re pregnant. Depending on the health of your pregnancy and your level of fitness when you got pregnant, your doctor may ask you to limit your physical activity or have specific instructions about how often you should be working out.

As a general rule, it’s wise to stick to the activities you were doing before you got pregnant. In other words, if you weren’t running 5Ks before you got pregnant, your pregnancy is not the time to become a runner. Some sports, like mountain biking and downhill skiing, are likely to be off limits, even if you were prolific before you got pregnant, due to their associated risks.

Best Exercises for Pregnancy

If you are given the green light for exercise by your doctor, some types of activity are better suited for expectant moms than others. Here are a few types of workouts that are likely to earn two thumbs up from your OB-GYN:

Stationary bikes: Indoor cycling is a good way to burn calories without putting too much pressure on your legs. You can go as slowly as you want to on an indoor bike and avoid the hills setting as needed.

Pool activities: Being in the swimming pool is very low impact. As well as trying laps, group exercise classes in the water are a great way to get moving without hurting your joints.

Walking and jogging: Low impact walking is a safe way to keep burning calories, and you may also be approved for jogging if you were doing it before you got pregnant. You may want to consider running on an indoor track or other surface that is easier on your joints.

Prenatal yoga and pilates: These classes are designed for moms-to-be, so they help you strengthen your core and stretch your muscles without overexerting yourself.

For more helpful information on what to expect while you’re pregnant, visit Tri-City Medical Center’s comprehensive pregnancy resource page today.