Expecting a baby is an exciting time, full of anticipation and joy. There are so many fun things to do to prepare like nesting, buying baby clothes, and thinking up names, just to name a few!
Pregnancy can also be a time of worry, especially for first-time moms, as you learn what foods, beverages, and medications are safe for you and your baby. One of the most common questions expectant mothers ask is: is working out while pregnant safe?
Exercising during pregnancy is healthy for you, provided you do not have any medical complications or conditions that prohibit you from exercising. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends approximately 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise, even every day.
One of the most important things to bear in mind is that pregnancy is not a time to exercise for weight loss purposes, although a regular exercise program during pregnancy can help you to lose weight after the baby is born.
**Every person is different, and every pregnancy is different, so it’s important to check with your obstetrician before beginning any exercise regimen.**
Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant
There are several benefits to exercising during your pregnancy, and many of them help alleviate some of the more painful and/or uncomfortable pregnancy side effects. Benefits of exercise for pregnant women include:
- Improved posture
- Increased strength and muscle tone
- Better sleep
- Increased energy
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
- Reduction in constipation, backaches, swelling, and bloating
How Much Exercise is Safe During Pregnancy?
For women who were physically active before their pregnancy, it’s usually okay to continue to work out, only more moderately. It’s important to pay attention to what is comfortable for you, and stick with low-impact workouts and avoid strenuous exercise.
If exercise is new to you, after checking with your obstetrician or healthcare provider exercise is typically encouraged, but it’s a good idea to ease into it to avoid taxing your body too much.
Best Pregnancy Safe Workouts
Here are a few ideas for workouts that are good for you, your baby, and that are more comfortable for pregnant women:
Walking: This is one of the safest and most comfortable aerobic exercises you can do while pregnant. It is less taxing than running or jogging, and you can fit it easily into a busy schedule. It’s important to stretch well before walking (or any physical activity) and to start slowly and work your way up to longer and/or faster walks over time. Wear comfortable, sturdy footwear to decrease the risk of falling.
Swimming: Most obstetricians and healthcare providers recommend swimming as a safe way to exercise during pregnancy. It’s great for increasing strength and toning your body, as well as raising your heart rate for a cardiovascular workout. It also avoids the hazard of falling that can occur during other forms of exercise.
Yoga: Most forms of yoga are safe for pregnant women, as long as they are not too strenuous. There are several yoga classes available just for pregnant women as well! Lying on your back may be uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses, so modified yoga routines that don’t include too much lying down are a good idea.
Risks of Exercising While Pregnant
One of the most important things you can do when exercising while pregnant is to listen to your body. If something hurts, or you are excessively fatigued, it’s time to take a break, stop, or find a less strenuous exercise. Signs your exercise choice(s) may not be quite right include joint pain, muscle pain, irritability during or after a workout, excessive breathlessness, and trouble sleeping.
There are elements of risk that come with any form of exercise, so here are some things to consider before deciding which exercise is right for you.
- Avoid activities that include an elevated risk of falling
- Bouncing, jumping, or hopping exercises
- Exercising in hot, humid weather (or hot yoga)
- Twisting motions and excessive stretching
- Long periods of little or no activity followed by a more intense workout
- Any contact sport
- Exercising to a point of exhaustion
First Trimester Pregnancy Workout Ideas
How you feel during your pregnancy is likely to change, and many women feel more fatigued and nauseous in their first trimester. Here are some exercise ideas that may be appealing even early on in your pregnancy:
- Low-impact yoga
- Low-intensity weight training
- Low-impact stationary bike
Everyone wants to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Start by consulting with your obstetrician to determine what type of exercise is safe for you throughout the course of your pregnancy, and make a workout plan that fits into your lifestyle and fitness goals.
Adjust your exercise plan based on what’s comfortable for you at each stage of your pregnancy. Wellness of mind and spirit are just as important as physical health, so be sure to leave time for self-care as well. Before you know it you’ll be holding your new bundle of joy!
Are you looking for an OB/Gyn you can trust? Do you live in the Tucson area? Call 520.721.4209 to book an appointment today!
*This blog post was originally published on August 11, 2020.