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Exercise During Pregnancy

Yes, exercise during pregnancy. Despite the nausea, back pain, exhaustion, and uncertainty about whether exercise will make it better or worse, it is a good idea to keep moving. Unless you are experiencing serious complications, sitting around won’t help.

Each trimester you will need to adjust the type of exercise, how strenuous and how often, but exercise is good for both you and your developing baby. It will help you gain strength and prepare for childbirth, sleep better, prevent excess weight gain, boost your mood and reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.

First, Get the OK.
Before you begin an exercise program make sure you have the OK from your Genesis OB/GYN physician. There are some conditions where activity should be restricted and some activities that should be avoided. Your physician might advise you not to exercise if you have:

  • Some forms of heart and lung disease
  • Pregnancy-related high blood pressure
  • Cervical problems
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Preterm labor during your pregnancy or risk factors for preterm labor, such as preterm labor during the pregnancy prior to your current pregnancy
  • A multiple pregnancy at risk of preterm labor.

Where to start
For most women, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended on most if not all days of the week.

Walking is a great exercise for beginners. Other good choices include swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike. Avoid contact sports, vigorous racquet sports or activities that increase your risk of falling (riding a bike, skiing, etc.). Avoid scuba diving or exercise at high altitude. After your first trimester avoid any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back.

Tips
Here are some tips for a successful exercise plan:

  • Check with your Genesis OB/GYN physician first.
  • Start small – try a daily walk through your neighborhood or walk the perimeter of the grocery store a few times.
  • Find a partner – Exercise can be more interesting with a friend or family member to chat with.
  • Try a class – Many fitness centers or hospitals offer classes such as prenatal yoga.
  • Give yourself permission to rest. Your tolerance for strenuous exercise will probably decrease as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t overdo or get overheated.
  • Take time to cool down.
  • Have fun!

Caution: Be sure to stop exercising if you have dizziness, headache, increased shortness of breath, chest pain, uneven or rapid heartbeat, uterine contractions that continue after rest, vaginal bleeding, fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina, or decreased fetal movement.

If your signs and symptoms continue after you stop exercising, contact your Genesis OB/GYN physician.

Learn more about exercising and pregnancy
The 13 Rules of Safe Pregnancy Exercise

References
Exercise During Pregnancy Am Fam Physician, 1998 Apr 15:57(8):1857
Pregnancy Week by Week, Mayo Clinic Staff

 

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