Even if you don’t feel like exercising while pregnant, staying active and taking care of yourself will be good for both you and the baby. However, that doesn’t mean every exercise is safe or should be practiced regularly.
You don’t want to overtax yourself or engage in an activity that could hurt the baby. That’s why it’s important to be aware of which exercises will help you stay fit without undue stress on you or your baby during pregnancy. Here are five exercises that are safe for pregnant women, plus some tips on the kinds of exercises to avoid.
- Kegel Exercises. These secretive exercises can be done anywhere, and they help strengthen the pelvic muscles around the bladder, uterus and bowels. To do them properly, act as though you are trying to stop the flow in the middle of urinating or passing gas, and don’t move your legs, buttocks or abs.
- Stretching isn’t a very taxing exercise, but it can keep your muscles limber and warm, and it’s an important complement to cardiovascular workouts. Good stretches include the rotation of your shoulders, ankles and neck, as well as certain pregnancy-friendly yoga poses.
- Because your goal is to continue to stay healthy and active without stressing yourself or the baby, a casual walk around the block or at the mall can give you a reasonable workout without strain. If you want to go walking, stretch first and wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
- Much of yoga focuses on stress relief and relaxation, two areas that a pregnant woman and her baby will benefit from tremendously. Even better, you can improve muscle tone and breathing, while avoiding impact on your joints.
- Focusing on low-impact aerobics can help you maintain your cardiovascular health without risking your pregnancy, and you can make it even safer by taking a class with a certified aerobics instructor. Try exercises, such as stationary bikes, dancing and swimming, as long as you are already conditioned enough to handle them.
- Exercises to Avoid. In addition to doing these safe exercises for the health of you and your baby, it’s important to avoid exercises that are likely to cause you and the baby harm. Specifically, these include skiing, horseback riding, weightlifting, contact sports and anything that causes a great deal of stress and excessive movement, especially later in your pregnancy.
The Bottom Line:
With some good judgment, you should be able to decide which exercises and activities will be safe enough to handle while pregnant. There are a few things to keep in mind as you consider your options. One important factor in picking exercises is to avoid those in which falls are likely. It’s important to avoid twisting at the waist or applying pressure to the abdomen as well. Also dangerous is anything that requires you to hold your breath or engage in quick bursts of activity. Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll ensure that you and your baby can stay safe and healthy during your pregnancy.