It is common knowledge that exercise in general is good for one’s health, but what about during pregnancy? Is exercising while pregnant safe for the baby? In most cases, exercise is beneficial to both the mother and the yet-to-be-born baby. Still, you should be considerate of the intensity of your exercise and the types of activities you’re doing.
Which conditions make exercising while pregnant unsafe?
Although exercise can be a positive for you and your baby, there are a few instances where women should avoid any kind of exercise during pregnancy and consult their doctor about what might be right for them. A study by the Committee on Obstetric Practice in 2015 found that exercise is beneficial for pregnant women and safe for their babies, except for women with complicated pregnancies and certain conditions. If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid any physically strenuous activities during your pregnancy and talk to your obstetrician:
- Severe anemia
- Certain heart or lung diseases
- Cervical insufficiency
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks
- Multiple gestation (twins, triplets or more)
- High blood pressure
What kinds of exercise are safe during pregnancy?
It is recommended that pregnant women try to exercise 20-30 minutes a day at least five days a week. If you are new to exercise you should start slow with a mild workout and a short duration. If you are used to exercise, consult with your obstetrician; you should most likely be able to continue exercising as normal. If you lose weight, you should increase your daily caloric intake. Exercise for pregnant women should consist of moderate-intensity aerobic activities like walking, swimming, stationary cycling and modified yoga or pilates.
What are the benefits of exercising while pregnant?
Exercising is good for your health regardless of pregnancy, but there are additional benefits of exercising for women who are pregnant:
- Possible decrease in risks of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
- Strengthens the heart and blood vessels
- Reduces back pain
- Eases constipation
- Helps shed baby weight after birth
What are some ways to stay safe while exercising?
There are some precautions you should take to ensure the safety of you and your baby if you decide to exercise while pregnant. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after the workout. You should avoid becoming overheated, so choose to exercise indoors if it is hot outside and avoid hot yoga or pilates. You should avoid any sort of exercise that could jostle the baby too much or that puts you at higher risk of falling or getting hit. This includes workouts like contact sports, skydiving, skiing, surfing, gymnastics and horseback riding. Some warning signs that you should immediately stop exercising and call your doctor are:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or feeling faint
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Regular painful uterine contractions
Exercising while pregnant is not recommended for everyone. If you do not have any conditions preventing you from doing so, exercise can be very beneficial to both you and your baby. If you have any questions regarding exercising while pregnant, you can schedule an appointment with any of our compassionate and talented OBGYNs.