6. Benefìcial Exercises during Pregnam
Keep in mind a few general
precautions about exercising during pregnancy that apply to most
pregnant women. Your healthcare provider may want to discuss additional
precautions that apply specifically to you.
If you participate in a competitive
sport, such as tennis, you may be able to continue, but expect to
change the level at which you play. Don’t get carried away or overwork
yourself. The goal is not to win the game but to maintain fitness and
have a good time! You may want to pick a less-strenuous sport to
participate in during pregnancy. Some are listed below; most are
considered acceptable for women of any age in a normal, low-risk
•low-impact aerobics designed specifically for pregnant women
•regular cycling (if you’re experienced)
•jogging (if you jogged regularly before pregnancy)
•tennis (played moderately)
•yoga or Pilates (don’t lie on your back after 16 weeks of pregnancy)
Swimming and Water Exercises
Some women say that while they’re
pregnant, the only time they really feel comfortable is in the water.
Being in the water can have a calming effect, and it can help reduce
Because water supports you, you will feel
much lighter, and you won’t have to worry about keeping your balance.
Water also supports the weight of the fetus, relieving some stress in
your lower back. That enables you to adopt a more relaxed posture and
to enjoy a greater range of motion while in the water.
Being in the water reduces the effect of
gravity, and this in turn reduces pressure on your joints—a great
temporary relief for some women. In addition, exercising in the water
makes it significantly easier for your heart to pump blood. That’s a
real benefit, especially if you have hypertension.
A balance ball may be a good purchase.
Exercising on a big exercise ball is easier on your back while it
strengthens core muscles. Some women use them during labor to help
You can get a good
workout in the water. Water exerts 12 times the resistance of air on
limbs—you’ll expend more energy moving through water than you would
walking on a street.
Your baby is well protected inside your
body in the water. There are actually three barriers to provide
protection—the amniotic membrane that surrounds the baby, the cervix
and the vagina. Don’t be concerned about water getting to the baby.
However, if your bag of waters has broken, do not exercise in the water.
Pregnancy Aerobics, Yoga and Pilates Classes
Classes designed for pregnant women can
be a good exercise choice. They concentrate on your unique needs, such
as strengthening abdominal muscles and improving posture. When choosing
a class, be sure the instructor has proper training and the class meets
guidelines developed by the American College of Obstetricians and
If there are no classes
available in your area, exercise DVDs for pregnant women may be
available online, at your local library or video store. They are a good
alternative to aerobics classes.