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  • Writer's pictureTaryn Goodwin

Exercise in Pregnancy

We all know exercise is key to staying fit and healthy, and this fact doesn't change once you become pregnant. In fact, staying active is one of the best ways to help ensure you have a healthy and happy nine months.

That’s right, you absolutely do not have to drop out of your dance classes or tear up your gym membership the minute you get a positive pregnancy test. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before your don your favorite active attire and get moving.

Carry On

In general, if you were active before becoming pregnant you can carry on with the same types of activity your body is accustomed to. That means if you were a lap swimmer or tap-dancing maniac before you got that positive test, you can definitely keep right on improving your game throughout your pregnancy as long as you are comfortable doing so.

That said, many women feel the need to decrease the intensity of their exercise sessions as their pregnancy progresses. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including added weight making certain movements more difficult, pressure on the lungs making breathing more labored, added flexibility in the joints due to prolactin, and difficulty balancing.

Add In

If you were not active before becoming pregnant, you will want to add some sort of exercise into your routine. Some of the best exercises to begin with are walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga. All three are low-impact and fairly safe for anyone, regardless of fitness levels.

Keep the Weight

Although many people exercise to lose weight before pregnancy, doing so while you are growing a little one is not a good idea. Weight gain during pregnancy is normal and important to the health of your baby. Therefore, unless your care provider says otherwise, losing weight through dieting or exercise is not recommended.

Exercises to Avoid

There are a few kinds of exercise you will want to avoid while carrying a child even if you actively participated in these exercises before becoming pregnant. These include high-impact sports (or sports in which impact is likely) such as basketball, football, and volleyball. Also included are any activities that require you to hold your breath for extended periods of time, exercise carried out in hot or humid weather, and any sport or activity that could easily cause you to fall.

Benefits of Exercise

So, why would you want to continue exercising through pregnancy if you can’t even do it for weight loss? There are a number of great reasons to keep moving during the months leading up to the birth of your little one. These include:

  • Improved sleep

  • Improved posture

  • Fewer issues with constipation

  • Reduced backache

  • Higher energy levels

  • Improved mood

  • Improve fitness (potentially helpful during labor)

Safety Tips

Of course, safety always comes first. Therefore, there are some things you will want to do before and during your exercise sessions to ensure they are as safe as possible. Here are some of the things you will want to consider doing:

  • Always exercise on a flat, level surface.

  • Never exercise in intense heat.

  • When getting up from floor exercises, do so slowly.

  • Eat an hour before exercising.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Wear a supportive bra and comfortable, supportive shoes.

  • Stop if you feel exhausted, out of breath, or light-headed.

If you are pregnant and considering adding exercise into your routine, now is the time to begin. Dig out your sports bra and tennis shoes and get walking, or find a prenatal yoga class in your area. If you are unsure about starting any type of exercise, simply ask your care provider and pay attention to the cues your body gives during exercise sessions.

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