Pregnancy comes with a number of changes for moms to be, including changes to your body, your habits, and your lifestyle. Whether you were a marathon runner, swimmer, cyclist or took the occasional stroll around the block before your pregnancy, you will likely have questions about what you can and cannot do throughout your pregnancy. In addition to improving your overall health and wellness, there are numerous benefits to exercising while pregnant, including the reduction of back pain and constipation, decreasing the risk of certain complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean delivery, as well as helping you lose weight after the birth of your baby.
While each woman and pregnancy is different, here are some general Do’s and Don’ts concerning exercise and pregnancy:
- DO stay active during pregnancy. The CDC recommends that pregnant women get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. You should aim to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, but take care not to over exert yourself. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry on a conversation during the activity. Some ideas include: a walk around the neighborhood, light gardening or yard work, swimming, or modified yoga.
- DO stay hydrated. It’s important to drink plenty of water during your workout, as well as before and after. Lookout for signs of dehydration, including dizziness and feeling your heart racing or pounding.
- DON’T participate in activities that can increase your risk of injury or put you at risk of getting hit in the abdomen. These activities can include skydiving, “hot” yoga or “hot” pilates, contact sports (such as boxing, ice hockey, soccer, or basketball), horseback riding, scuba diving, and gymnastics, among others.
- DON’T continue to exercise if you experience any unusual symptoms during exercise. If you experience any of the following, you should stop exercising and contact your midwife right away: fluid leaking or bleeding from the vagina, dizziness or shortness of breath, chest pain, contractions, headache, muscle weakness, or calf pain and swelling.
Remember, every woman and every pregnancy is different, so it is best to speak with your midwife to discuss what physical activity is recommended for you during your pregnancy. The midwives of Comprehensive Women’s Health are available to answer your questions about exercise and your pregnancy and are only a phone call away 352-332-7222!