Exercise Safely During Pregnancy

Exercise Safely During Pregnancy

With your growing belly, exhaustion and body aches, you may struggle to find the energy to exercise, but regular physical activity can help you feel better and stay healthy during pregnancy. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise each day, or a total of two and a half hours weekly, suggests the March of Dimes. The benefits include increased energy, healthy weight gain, preparation for birth, decreased stress and reducing pain and discomfort. Before you break a sweat, though, you need to take safety precautions to keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Discuss your current workout routine with your prenatal care provider at the beginning of your pregnancy to determine if you can continue. If you don't already exercise, discuss the options for a safe workout routine with your doctor. You'll need to start a gradual workout plan, rather than jumping into exercise full-force. In general, if your pregnancy is low-risk, you can exercise moderately without any danger to your baby, but getting your doctor's approval is still a good idea.

Choose prenatal exercises that you enjoy and those that reduce any risk to your baby. Skip workouts that involve physical contact, jerky movements or the potential for falls -- including skiing, bike riding, kickboxing and soccer. Once you pass the first trimester, avoid workouts that involve lying flat on your back, recommends MayoClinic.com. Try walking, swimming, low- to moderate-intensity workout classes or yoga.

Warm up before each workout session to prepare your body for the exercise. Cool down and stretch at the end of the workout session.

Drink lots of water as you exercise to avoid dehydration and keep your body cool. Exercise indoors on hot days so your body doesn't overheat. Slow down your routine if you feel too hot. A body temperature higher than 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit increases the risk of developmental problems to your fetus, according to KidsHealth.org.

Monitor your body during and after exercise to watch for warning signs of a problem. Change your routine or reduce the intensity if your body tells you the workout is too difficult. Call your doctor if you notice anything abnormal, especially pain, contractions, vaginal bleeding, fluid from the vagina, shortness of breath or dizziness.

Change your exercise options as your pregnancy progresses, if necessary. Your growing midsection may throw off your balance or make certain exercises difficult to do. If your normal workout class is no longer a good fit, check out a prenatal exercise class instead. If walking puts too much pressure on your joints, switch to swimming.