I’ve had lots of questions regarding the safety of working out when you’re pregnant and my first answer is always to check with your health care professional before you start any exercise program or special diet. Every person is different and every pregnancy is different. While it might be perfectly safe for one woman to workout, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone who is pregnant. Here is a generalized guide regarding exercise and pregnancy.
When should you avoid exercising?
First, your doctor will inform you of specific reasons you shouldn’t exercise. It’s especially important to check with your health care professional if you have preexisting conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma. If you’ve had a history of miscarriages, have a weak cervix or have had spotting, listen closely to the recommendations of your medical expert, even if you just planned light exercise. No matter what your health, avoid working out in excessive heat. Remember, it’s far better to error on the side of caution, since the health of both you and your baby are at risk.
If you’ve been active right up until you found you were pregnant, staying active can be good.
Your health care professional will probably ask they type of activities you do to determine whether it’s safe for you to exercise. Your health care specialist will probably note that some sports, such as high contact ones or sports that can cause you to fall should be avoided. These might include skiing, basketball or other high contact sports. Sports or exercise that jar your body should also be evaluated carefully. If you workout in a gym or do calisthenics at home, avoid exercises that increase stress on the abdomen, like full sit-ups, deep knee bends and leg lifts.
If you’ve never exercised previously, you still can start, but with rules.
Starting training to run a marathon or getting into weightlifting after you find you’re pregnant shouldn’t be considered, but a moderate program of exercise may help you stay healthier, deliver easier and recover after delivery quicker. There are far less intense, low impact types of programs to help you keep up your strength and stay fit while pregnant. Using a step machine or swimming are two. Walking is another simple exercise that can reduce the potential of complications significantly.
- Bicycling or trail biking in later months should be avoided since your center of gravity changes, making it a higher potential you’ll fall. The more advanced the pregnancy and bigger your abdomen, the more you need to switch to a stationary bike.
- Even if you’re a professional athlete, you should avoid exercise that involves twisting at the waist, those that involve high impact and high intensity workouts. If you’re stretching, avoid bouncing or holding your breath.
- You can lift weights while pregnant, but make them lightweight, such as wrist and ankle weights when you walk. They can help you prepare arm muscles for carrying the baby for long periods. Never lay on your back when lifting weights.
- Certain exercises, such as the standing or kneeling pelvic tilt, can help prevent or relieve back pain while you’re pregnant. Other exercises, like Kegels, cardio and squats can make delivery easier.