Is it Safe to Exercise While Pregnant?

I’ve always enjoyed exercising and its benefits to my mind and body.  With the permission of my doctor I continue to enjoy exercising in my last trimester of pregnancy.  My favorite types of exercise include aerobics, yoga, and walking.  The main reason I exercise is to release stress and to maintain muscle tone.  Added benefits of exercising while pregnant include:

  • Boosts energy level and improves mood.
  • Improves posture and circulation which helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling.
  • Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance which will come in handy during labor.
  • Helps you sleep better.

It is recommended that pregnant women who have been cleared to exercise by their physicians engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most if not all, days of the week.  Walking, swimming, stationary biking and moderate-intensity aerobics are regarded as safe during pregnancy, even for beginners.  Running, racquet sports, and strength training when done in moderation are safe for pregnant women who had been previously participating in these activities.  The following activities should be avoided during pregnancy:  downhill snow skiing, horseback riding, scuba diving, and contact sports.

During this stage of my pregnancy I have certainly noticed a change in my balance and flexibility.  When pregnant your body releases a hormone that causes the ligaments that support your joints to become more flexible.  So I try to be extra careful not to over extend while exercising and try to avoid jerky motions that may result in injuries.  Another modification I’ve made to my exercise routine is to avoid any exercise that requires me to lay flat on my back.  Lying on your back during the second and third trimester puts pressure on a major vain reducing blood flow to mom and baby.  So instead of doing sit ups lying down, I do a modified version of them on an exercise ball.  Additional exercise guidelines to follow:

  • Wear a supportive bra and sport specific shoes.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Consume enough nutrient rich foods.
  • Be cautious when exercising in adverse weather conditions.

If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.  If you experience any concerning side effects from exercising, call your physician immediately.

For more information check out the following resource:  American Council on Exercise

YouTube also has some helpful and free video clips of safe exercises to do while pregnant.
Here is a link to one of them:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xukpu9Ls3As

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