Exercise is just as important during pregnancy as it is before and after. However, there are certain guidelines you should follow. Read on to learn what exercises are safe throughout your pregnancy, and which forms of activity should be avoided, for your health and for baby’s safety.
Generally, the following forms of fitness can safely be maintained during your pregnancy, with your doctor’s consent.
This exercise is easy, free, and it can be done anywhere. All you need is a comfortable pair of sneakers. Brisk walking while pregnant can help raise your heart rate, without putting too much strain on muscles and joints.
Yoga is not only an effective activity for building core strength and firming muscles, it helps soothe stress and ease anxiety. What soon-to-be new mom couldn’t benefit from less stress?
Light Strength Training
Not only does light weight training help you to build muscles before baby arrives, it can be part of a healthy post-baby exercise plan. Plus, you’ll need strong arms and legs for carrying your baby. Just be sure not to use excessive weight, and avoid any exercises where you are lying on your back.
Swimming can be a comfortable and effective activity for any stage of your pregnancy. Not only will you feel lighter in the water, it’s gentle on joints and can help relieve swollen ankles.
Stationery bike cycling is a safe way to train leg muscles and achieve 30-minutes of cardio without the need for expensive gear, being exposed to the elements, or the risks of oncoming traffic. It’s also easy on joints, which is ideal during pregnancy.
Search for an aerobics class in your area geared toward pregnant women. You’ll want instruction that helps you tone all your muscles, and boost your cardio, without doing any activities that are too straining, especially later in your pregnancy.
Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant
It can be hard to feel like you have to give up activities that you love while pregnant, however for your safety and the health and well-being of your new addition, your doctor is likely to suggest that you avoid the following activities during your pregnancy, especially in your later trimesters:
- Racket sports, or anything that requires you to quickly pivot, turn, or change directions.
- Contact sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer.
- Activities that put you at risk of falling, such as rollerblading, outdoor cycling, horseback riding, surfing, or skiing.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
Talk to your OBGYN to devise a fitness plan that is right for you, however most pregnant women will still need about 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If on any one day you feel too fatigued to achieve your 30-minute goal in one session, consider 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes later in the day instead. Also, make sure any cardio activity you are participating in that is raising your heart rate isn’t making it too difficult to breathe. You should be able to comfortably carry on a conversation while you’re working out.
Before you begin any exercise regimen while pregnant, talk to your OBGYN. He or she can help you build an ideal fitness plan based on your current fitness levels, and any possible unique risk factors.