Most of us are aware that medical experts advise approximately 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to help maintain an optimal weight and overall health. But what does this mean for expectant mothers?
According to experts, regular exercise during pregnancy is not only safe – it’s beneficial and encouraged! The same general guidelines of 150 minutes per week of exercise is recommended for prenatal patients. Exercising during pregnancy can help relieve joint pain, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and help you gain pregnancy weight at a healthy rate. If you were very active before your pregnancy, you can continue with the same workouts during your pregnancy, with the approval of your physician. If you’re new to an exercise program, be sure to listen to your body and increase the time and intensity of your workouts gradually.
Aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, dance classes, or riding a stationary bike can all be excellent ways to support a healthy pregnancy, increase stamina, and improve your circulatory system. In addition to aerobic exercise, modified pilates and yoga can improve flexibility, increase joint mobility, and strengthen your core and center of gravity as your body changes to accommodate fetal growth.
As with any exercise program, it is important to speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns that may arise. Precautions to take when exercising while pregnant include staying hydrated and cool (avoid overheating), wearing supportive clothing such as a structured sports bra and belly band to reduce pressure on your back, and avoiding high-impact exercises such as HIIT workouts and running. Listening to your body and adhering to potential exercise limitations during pregnancy is important to produce the healthiest outcome. Any abnormal signs or symptoms that may occur with exercise should be discussed with your prenatal provider including (but not limited to) vaginal bleeding, dizziness, feeling faint, chest pain, shortness of breath, abnormal and persistent uterine contractions, and fluid leakage. If any of these occur, stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor for care instructions.
Exercising throughout your pregnancy is vital to a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Regular exercise supports your body and prepares your body to recover more quickly in the postpartum stage.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Exercise During Pregnancy. Last Updated: 3/2022. Accessed 8/21/2023. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy