If you’ve wondered whether pregnancy workouts are safe, the answer is yes, as long as you follow certain guidelines. When you exercise during pregnancy the potential for preterm birth, excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, cesarean birth and low birth weigh of the baby decrease. Exercising during pregnancy can help prevent and relieve back aches that occur as your belly grows and posture changes. It can make delivery easier, lower the potential for postpartum depression and improve physical recovery. It also can help you get back to normal after the baby is born.
If you exercised before you were pregnant, you can continue with most activities.
You noticed the term most was included, that’s because contact sports and ones that potentially could lead to falls, like competitive skiing, exercises that have you laying on your back too long or extremely rigorous exercise should be avoided. Your doctor is the best consultant on what you should and should not do, based on your body and pregnancy. There are generalizations for most people, however.
No matter what the trimester, moderate cardio is safe.
If you’re out of shape and decided to start exercising after you found you were pregnant, stick with less rigorous workouts, like walking, swimming or riding a stationary bike. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. During your first trimester, doing exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles that support your abdomen are important, so is strengthening the pelvic floor. Pelvic curls, kneeling push-ups, squats and the pelvic brace can be done during that time.
During the second trimester, avoid high impact exercises.
Exercises that involve jumping, running, pushing yourself to exhaustion and trying to balance should be avoided in the second trimester. You can continue squats, push-ups and other exercises done during the first trimester that don’t involve those things. Add stretches to your repertoire to ease your muscles due to a change in gravity.
- Switch more to cardio and developing strength in your abdomen during the final trimester. That can mean maintaining a walking or swimming schedule, doing exercises for the pelvic floor and some bodyweight workouts.
- Avoid any type of exercise that could cause you to fall. That could be quite a few, since your center of gravity has changed. Avoid exercises that cause your legs to be too far apart, which can cause pain in the pubic area.
- A few third trimester exercises can be bodyweight squats, bicep curls and standing shoulder press with light weights, wall push-ups and modified planks. Keep moving, but don’t push too hard. Make sure you warm-up and cool down.
- If you’ve exercised regularly before you became pregnant, in most cases, you can continue with the same type of exercise. If you hiked or ran, switch to more even, level terrain to avoid falls. Always listen to both your doctor and your body and your doctor.
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