Is it safe to work out during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a very exciting chapter of every woman’s life. Our body goes through considerable changes to become a welcoming home for a little one for the whole 9 months period. And of course the main task of every mother-to-be is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sure it’s for the sake of the baby! But it also helps to go more smoothly through the process. Today I want to talk about working out during pregnancy. Is it safe? What activity to be taken off your list until delivery? Why is it important to do exercises at all? Let’s start.

Is it safe to work out during pregnancy

When you learn about your new status, you start doubting some parts of your daily routine. It’s normal. Is it ok to go to bed late? Can I drive a car? Can I continue my exercises? These (and many others) are the questions you ask your doctor at first appointment. Questions number one and two are mainly up to you, but the third depends on the examination results and blood tests. If you have no condition, your healthcare provider won’t have any objections about you continuing working out. But there sure will be restrictions which will discuss as follows.

You also might not want to do any sports in your 1st trimester. Primarily, it might affect your pregnancy for the risk of miscarriage is rather high before you reach the 12 weeks point. Always better to be on the safe side. Secondly, you might have morning (and day-time too) sickness, be sleepy and have no desire for any types of activity at all.

What types of activity you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy

When you’re ready and if you have no medical condition or risk of miscarriage, it’s good for you to start doing some working out. Aerobic exercises are great during pregnancy. It helps you strengthen your heart which is very important for soon enough it will have to work harder than usual. Also doing aerobic exercises increase oxygen level in your blood and that is excellent for both you and your baby.

Swimming during pregnancy

Of all aerobic activities swimming is considered the safest for pregnant women. Some may worry about chlorine or bacteria in the pool but the research never found any risk for either mother or child. Swimming is good because:

  • You use almost all muscles groups including arms, legs and back. The last one is especially important because many women suffer from back pain in their 3rd trimester
  • The activity is of low intense so you won’t get tired or overworked easily
  • Low risk of injuries

Just remember, if you hadn’t swum regularly before pregnancy, you should start slow. Also don’t forget about warming up.

Walking exercises during pregnancy

Walking is second best after swimming. It is great for those who never did any sport before. Walking helps you get fresh air, increase blood oxygen level, makes your heart work better and of course strengthens your legs.

If you’re just starting walking, think first about footwear. Shoes must be comfortable. Use light sneakers. Rule number two, always have a bottle of water and a snack. If you walk on sunny weather, don’t forget about protecting your skin.

Start from 20-30 minute walks and increase the time if you feel comfortable.   

What else you can do

There are other types of activity that you are ok to do if your doctor or midwife has no objections:

  • Yoga. It helps you relax as well as strengthen your body. If you never attended yoga classes before, be sure to start from the beginner’s level. Don’t forget to inform instructor that you are pregnant and about the trimester you’re in. You shouldn’t do half the asanas like backbends, balancing on one leg, headstands, handstands and camel pose!
  • Running and jogging. It might surprise you, but basically it’s ok to continue running and jogging during pregnancy. Pay attention, I say continue, not start. If you’re used to these types of exercises, you can go on. Ask your doctor or midwife about any specific recommendations. And be sure to stay hydrated all the time.
  • Lifting weights. This is fine only in case if you did such workouts regularly before pregnancy. There will be some restrictions you definitely should know about. Better use lighter weights but make more reps; avoid lifting lying flat on your back; stop doing wanking lunges. You should listen to your body all the time and stop at first signs of discomfort in your pelvis

These activities must be off your list

Some sports are way too dangerous for your baby and even if you’re super healthy or did it before pregnancy, you should stop for the risk of falling and getting placental abruption is too high:

  • Skating. It includes ice skating, rollers and skateboard
  • Horseback riding
  • Downhill skiing and snowboarding
  • Football and soccer
  • Basketball and volleyball
  • Mountain climbing    

Why is it important to exercise during pregnancy

Working out or doing at least basic activity as walking is very important during pregnancy. When you move your body gets more oxygen and your baby needs it. Your heart becomes stronger, so do your other body muscles. Regular exercises will help you stay fit and healthy and trust me, you don’t want to get more weight than absolutely necessary (your healthcare provider must tell you how many pounds are ok and alert you if it’s too much).

Second part why you simply must exercise is sugar. In the end of your second trimester you might have higher sugar level because of pregnancy hormones affecting sugar digestion. Working out helps to burn glucose. Your doctor will tell you about this more detailed when time comes. Stay healthy, stay fit.

By Evelyn Smart

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