While exercise may be the last thing on your mind during pregnancy, especially in the beginning, there are a number of reasons to start or maintain your exercise routine when you’re pregnant. There are a number of acceptable exercises to take part in during pregnancy, as well as some to avoid. Exercise, when done correctly during pregnancy can help to make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable.
Mayo Clinic lists the following as benefits of exercise during pregnancy:
- Ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts
- Boost your mood and energy levels, helping you to sleep better
- Prevents excess weight gain
- Increases stamina and muscle strength.
Also, Mayo Clinic says, “regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead.”
There are a number of activities that are appropriate to do when pregnant. For a person who hasn’t been exercising regularly before pregnancy, walking is the best place to start. The American Pregnancy Association states, “if you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself.” Other exercises to consider during pregnancy are: prenatal yoga, swimming, dance, bicycling, running or jogging and kegel exercises.
Pregnancy activities to avoid during pregnancy include skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, horse back riding and contact sports. It’s important to note “during the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to the uterus,” according to the American Pregnancy Association. You also shouldn’t exercise in extremely hot temperatures or on excessively rocky or uneven terrain.
Although exercising during pregnancy is safe, there are some danger signs to watch out for. If you experience any of these symptoms while exercising, stop immediately and consider seeing your doctor: 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. Before implementing any exercise routine, especially during pregnancy, it’s important to consult your physician or other medical professional.