During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many physical and hormonal changes, often making it difficult to exercise regularly. Staying active is important for not only your health, but also the health of your developing baby.The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but also offers some tips on how to stay safe during physical activity.
Don’t overdo it. One of the best pieces of advice when considering an exercise regimen while pregnant is to avoid pushing yourself too hard. Jumping into a heavy exercise routine during pregnancy can result in injury and, in extreme cases, harm to the unborn child. Particularly if you have a heart or lung disorder, strenuous exercise can put unnecessary strain on you and your baby. Easing into regular low-impact activities is a great way to stay healthy while minimizing the safety risks.
Try low-impact exercise. Women should avoid activities that involve any sort of contact or injury to the belly. High-impact and contact sports should be avoided in favor of low-impact activities. Low-impact exercise like swimming or using an elliptical machine can help keep you active without straining your body. The American Pregnancy Association also recommends yoga, running, cycling and climbing the stairs to stay in the best possible health throughout your pregnancy.
Avoid risky exercises. Avoid skiing, horseback riding and any activity that could cause you to fall. During the third trimester, women should also avoid activities that involve lying flat on their backs, like certain yoga poses. This can restrict blood flow to the uterus and harm your baby.
Talk to your doctor. Your doctor is your best resource for determining what, if any, exercise will benefit you during your pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, women who are at risk for preterm labor should not exercise because it can increase the risk of delivering prematurely. Your doctor will also be able to tell you which activities to avoid altogether, like scuba diving, so you can manage your risk factors and ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy.