Exercise During Pregnancy: Get Moving

Exercise During Pregnancy: Get Moving

Should you exercise during pregnancy? A good rule of thumb is that if everything is going well, you can do almost any exercise you were doing before you got pregnant. If you weren't exercising, then start with a pregnancy workout plan.

Exercise strengthens and tones muscles, some of which you'll be using during your labor and birth. Pregnancy exercise also increases the circulation of blood between you and your baby, can help to decrease many of the discomforts you may experience during pregnancy (such as a backache), helps improves your energy level, and helps you feel well emotionally.

What to Know About Exercise While Pregnant

Although pregnancy workouts are great for you and your baby, there are a few precautions you should take. Here are some dos and don’ts for workouts for pregnant women:

Dos

  • Check with your doctor before starting any exercise while pregnant.
  • Start slowly, with as little as 5 minutes a day, and work up to about 30 minutes.
  • Always include a warm-up and a cool-down period.
  • If you take an aerobics class for pregnancy fitness, exercise only on wood or tightly woven carpeted surfaces, and be sure the instructor knows you're pregnant.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Don’ts

  • Don’t do forced, passive stretches, such as reaching for your toes or doing hamstring stretches. The pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens your joints and ligaments, making you more vulnerable to muscle injury from overstretching.
  • Don’t change positions too quickly, and avoid sudden jerking and bouncing movements.
  • Don’t do exercises that strain your abdominal and lower-back muscles, like sit-ups or raising both legs off the floor.
  • Don’t exercise in hot, humid conditions. Overheating increases the risk of birth defects, especially in early pregnancy.

The Best Pregnancy Workouts

You’ll want to limit aerobic activity to the low-impact variety, especially if you weren't exercising regularly before getting pregnant. Brisk walking, swimming, and riding a stationary bicycle are great exercises to do while pregnant.

You can also do activities like yoga or running, but always check with your healthcare provider before starting any new prenatal workout or continuing with an activity you enjoyed pre-pregnancy. In addition, you can prepare your pelvic muscles for the big job of giving birth with Kegel exercises.

Though exercise for pregnant women is important, it’s also nice to slow down and take some time for yourself. You’ve got a lot to consider during this time, so why not have a look at our Baby Name Generator? Search and cross-reference across a variety of categories to find name inspiration for your new baby.

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