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Exercise during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy
June 17
12:43 2013

Exercise during pregnancy: Things to consider

To exercise or not to exercise, all pregnant women struggle to find appropriate answer for the same. If you arealso finding it hard to decide whether you should take up exercising regime during pregnancy or not, then this post mighthelp you. Here we will be covering almost everything that a pregnant womanshould know about exercising and how it can affect her health and well-being.

Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

Generally, the first rule of thumb is that, it is safe to exercise during pregnancy (overall and in most cases). The more fit and active you are during pregnancy, easier it will be for you to adapt to changes that are going to take place in your body. It will also assist you to cope with labor and get back into shape after birth. However, many a times when there are certain complications in pregnancy, women are also advised to take complete rest, so consulting your doctor is highly recommended. Exercising during pregnancy can help improve your posture and reduce some common discomforts like fatigue and backaches. It may prevent gestational diabetes, relieve stress, and build up more stamina.

Who should not exercise:

Pregnant women who have medical conditions like: diabetes, asthma or heart diseases, exercising may not be recommended. Exercising may also be unsafe if you have obstetric condition like:

  • A history of early labor
  • Vulnerable or recurrent miscarriage
  • Previous premature births
  • Weak cervix
  • Low placenta
  • Spotting or bleeding
  • Consult your doctor before you decide to take up exercising

What exercises are safe during pregnancy?

Exercising during pregnancy is completely different from normal exercising routine. You need to be extra cautious about what exercises you take up and how much time you give to exercising on daily routine. As a result, starting wisely and slowly is advised. Don’t exercise to burn fat, exercise to build stamina and don’t exercise to exhaustion.

Some of the safe exercises that you can consider taking up includes:

  • Walking: This activity is highly admired for expected moms, because it is easy to do, safe and improves your cardiovascular fitness. It is also great for women who have never been on any exercising regime before pregnancy.
  • Swimming: It is a great form of exercise because your whole body is used and it also puts little strain on your joints. Plus, the water supports your weight.
  • Low impact aerobics: Make sure you hire a reputed instructor and don’t use DVDs or online tutorials
  • Dance: You can get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite beats, but remember that you don’t perform stunts or jump, leap or twirl. In short, don’t indulge in anything where there are chances of losing balance. You can join an antenatal dance class.
  • Stretching and prenatal yoga: It assists in keeping you strong and flexible and eases tension.

You can also indulge in fun activities that you will enjoy doing and find it easy to stick to. For example, you can build activity into your daily life like, taking stairs instead of liftor doing gardening or housework.

What exercises should be avoided during pregnancy:

There are certain activities and exercises that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy. So it is better you refrain from them. Here are some of the exercises that a pregnant woman should avoid:

  • Avoid holding your breath during any activity
  • Avoid activities where there are chances of losing balance or falling like horseback riding, rollerblading, gymnastics, squash, or skiing or skating
  • Avoid contact sports like volleyball, football, softball, basketball etc.
    Bouncing while stretching
  • Activities that require extensive running, bouncing, skipping, hopping, or jumping
    Avoid exercises that may cause even slight abdominal trauma
  • Full sit-ups, deep knee bends, double leg raises and straight leg toe touches
  • Waist twisting movement while standing
  • Exercises that need lying on your back or right side

It is always advised to consult your doctor before starting any exercise and even more so while you are pregnant.

Things you can consider including in your exercising regime during pregnancy:

  •  Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury
  • Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes
  • Wear a good bra that can provide nice support
  • Wearing right kind of shoes during exercising is the best way to prevent injury.
  • Choose shoes that are designed for the type of exercise you do
  • Maintain at least one hour gap between your meals and exercising regime
  •  Drink water before,during,and after your workout
  • Never exercise to the point of exhaustion
  • Also,make sure that you discuss your exercising regime with your doctor

Warning signs to quit exercising:

Stop exercising and consult your doctor if you:

  • Have headache
  • Experience chest pain
  • Have pelvic pain, abdominal pain or persistent contractions
  • Feel clammy or cold
  • Notice an absence or decrease in fetal movement
  • Have vaginal bleeding
  • Notice rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Feel dizzy, nauseated or light-headed
  • Have a sudden gush of fluid from the vagina
  • Drip of fluid that leaks gradually
  • Are short of breath
  • Have sudden swelling in your hands, face, ankles, or calf pain
  • Have muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking

Planning your exercising regime according to your Doctor’s recommendation is extremely important. Please consult your doctor before starting any new health regime.


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