Should I still exercise during pregnancy?

By Brooke Strickland

Your pregnancy is an exciting time in your life.  It’s also a time where your body is changing rapidly and it was once believed that pregnant women should not exert themselves in any way -- only rest and relax. While pregnant women should in fact get lots of rest, doctors and midwives all over the world recommend keeping active with light exercise.  Light exercising, especially in the last trimester, can offer many health benefits to both the mother and baby.  It’s been shown that moms that keep fit while pregnant can often shorten labor and after the baby is born your body is quicker to get back into shape.

What exercises are safe during pregnancy?

Walking:   Walking is probably one of the safest forms of exercise a woman can do while pregnant.  It gets the heart pumping and is usually safe to do up until the end of pregnancy.   

Yoga:  This is not only a way to maintain good muscle tone while pregnant, but also is a calming way to workout.  There are yoga moves adapted just for pregnant women, so find a yoga class or instructor that is adept in these moves. 

Swimming:  Swimming gets most all of your major muscle groups moving and doesn’t affect your joints or tummy.  It also helps with circulation and muscle tone.  There are usually classes at your local community center for pregnant moms who want to stay active in the water.

There are some important tips to remember, though if you’re pregnant and wanting to exercise regularly. 

Don’t exercise to lose weight:  Pregnancy is a time when it’s GOOD to gain weight.  You should only exercise to keep your weight gain within a safe and normal range, never to lose weight. This is very unhealthy for your baby.

Cool it down:  It’s important that pregnant women (especially in the first trimester) don’t overheat during their workouts.  Studies have shown that an elevated temperature in the mother can interfere with the baby’s development in the womb.

Don’t overdo it:  If you’re feeling worn out, dizzy, or short of breath, take a break.  Don’t overdo it – any sign of over exerting yourself means it’s time to stop.

Keeping these things in mind will help keep a pregnant mom healthy and the baby in her belly growing well.  Here’s to a healthy and safe pregnancy!

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