Exercise During Pregnancy: What You Should Know

Featured Article, Reproductive Health, Women's Health
on July 8, 2013
Pregnancy exercise group class

Exercise is an essential part of bodily health and mental well-being at any point in life, and during pregnancy is no exception. That said, the body goes through drastic changes during each stage of pregnancy that you need to be aware of, and you may have to avoid some exercises altogether in order to prevent injuring yourself or your unborn baby. Exercise can help ease the aches and pains that go with pregnancy and lower the chances of common pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes. The right exercises can make delivery a lot easier for both mom and baby.

Discuss exercise with your doctor. The most important part of exercising during pregnancy is keeping your prenatal doctor well-informed on what you’re doing at each stage of pregnancy. Your doctor can recommend safe exercises in each trimester, as well as tell you what the warning signs are that signal you to slow down. If any abnormal pain or other issues arise during exercise, consult your doctor immediately. Provided you have the go-ahead, you can get started exercising right away.

Find an exercise partner. The possibility of injury is ever-present during exercise, and it increases during pregnancy. Always have another person to exercise with, or if you’re exercising at home, then make sure someone else is there. At very least, let someone else know that you’re preparing to exercise and ask them to call you after your workout to make sure everything went OK. This is a great way to spend time with another expecting mother or to have some of that precious alone time with your baby’s father before a newborn takes all that time.

Find exercise programs. Your doctor may be able to recommend an exercise class sponsored by a local hospital, WIC program or similar organization dedicated to mother/baby health. Local community centers such as the YMCA may also have prenatal exercise classes or swim times dedicated to pregnant mothers.

Find the right level. As long as your doctor approves, the Mayo Clinic states, “If you exercised before pregnancy, you can probably continue to work out at the same level while you’re pregnant.” It is important to remember, though, that this is not the time to push yourself. As long as you can speak normally and there is no abnormal pain, you should be at the right level for your current stage of pregnancy.