Exercise is essential during pregnancy to maintain your health. Women
who keep physically active while pregnant are less likely to experience issues
such as back pain and tiredness. Exercise may also help to reduce your risk of
pregnancy complications like blood clots and gestational diabetes. Finally,
maintaining your physical fitness helps to prepare your body for labor.
However, you should take precautions to make sure that your exercise regime
doesn't harm you or your developing baby.
1. Activities to avoid
Although many forms of exercise are safe for you to take part in while
you are pregnant, you should avoid activities that pose a greater risk. High
risk activities in pregnancy include:
· Contact sports like
basketball, softball and volleyball
· Horse riding, skiing
and any other activities where you are likely to fall
· Any exercise that risks
· Activities that involve
a lot of jumping, skipping or running
· Bouncing while you
stretch out during your warm up or cool down section
· Twisting your waist
while you are standing up
· Exercise that requires
you to lie on your back for more than a few minutes
· Activities that require
you to hold your breath such as underwater swimming
· Any exercise when the
weather is hot and humid
2. Exercise in moderation
If you are already physically active, you can usually continue with your
chosen activity, as long as it is not one of the types of exercise mentioned
above. You may need to reduce the intensity of your exercise, as you shouldn't
allow your heart rate to rise above 140. You should also follow the signals
that your body gives you, exercising at a level that feels comfortable.
3. If you are new to exercise
For anyone not physically active before pregnancy, as long as you get
the go ahead from your doctor, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to
start low-intensity exercise during pregnancy. Walking is a good activity to
start with, though low-impact aerobics and swimming are also suitable
activities. Whatever activity you choose, try to aim for 30 minutes of exercise
most days each week.
4. Join a prenatal exercise class
Taking part in an aquanatal group or an antenatal yoga class, for
instance, guarantees that the activity is suitable for you during pregnancy.
Joining an exercise group for expectant moms also helps you to meet other
pregnant women in your area, allowing you to meet up socially with them after
your baby's birth.
5. Taking extra care
While most women can exercise safely during pregnancy, you should
discuss physical activity with your practitioner in certain instances. For
example, if you have a history of spotting during pregnancy, a weak cervix, recurrent
miscarriages or premature delivery, exercise may pose a greater risk to you.
Your doctor can therefore provide individual advice on activity based on your