With your doctor’s approval, prenatal exercise (meaning exercise while you are pregnant) can offer a variety of benefits. As long as you are healthy, it is safe to start or continue most types of exercise, although some workouts may have to be modified for your comfort as your pregnancy advances. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight or early delivery. However, you should always talk with your doctor before starting or continuing with a modified exercise routine, as there are some pregnancy complications that may make it unsafe to perform certain activities.
Safe Exercises During Pregnancy
You and your doctor can decide how and how much you should exercise while pregnant, but below are some excellent options. In cases where you are taking a class, be sure your instructor knows you are pregnant.
- Brisk walking. Walking is a good way to tone your muscles and improve your mood. Plus, most women can continue a walking regimen right up to delivery.
- Swimming. Laps in the pool are easy on your joints and can help relieve swollen ankles. Plus, the buoyancy is enjoyable as your pregnancy advances.
- Yoga. Many yoga studios offer prenatal classes that provide a good workout but take your growing baby bump into account in the positions that are used. They also focus more on relaxation, which can be helpful during labor. Hot yoga or especially strenuous forms of yoga are not recommended.
- Stationary cycling. Cycling boosts your heart rate while being easy on your joints. And working out on a stationary bike eliminates the risks of accidents and injury associated with street cycling.
- Water aerobics. Performing aerobics in a pool provides a solid workout without stressing your joints.
- Strength training. Light weightlifting is a good way to maintain muscle tone, especially if you already had a routine before getting pregnant. Heavy lifting and routines where you lie flat on your back should be avoided.
- Stretching. Not only is gentle stretching important before and after exercise, it can be beneficial on its own as a way to keep your body toned and limber.
Benefits of Prenatal Exercise
A regular exercise regimen during pregnancy benefits you and your baby in a number of ways, including:
- Improving your overall fitness and strengthen your heart
- Easing constipation and bloating
- Reducing back pain
- Improving your energy level and mood
- Potentially decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean delivery
- Promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improving sleep
- Increasing muscle tone and strength
- Making it easier to lose baby weight after your baby is born
If you have the desire to exercise during pregnancy and there are no indicators that you should refrain from doing so, go for it! Physical activity is good for your body, mind, and baby.
Learn more about Baptist Health’s Maternity Care including scheduling a Labor & Delivery tour. Across eight locations in Kentucky and southern Indiana, each of our facilities offers unique innovations that help the families in our care realize that reality.