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Exercising while you are pregnant is healthy for you and your baby

Exercising while you are pregnant is healthy for you and your baby

Regular, moderate exercise can help you stay healthy and energized during your pregnancy. Below is some advice to remember when exercising while pregnant. Check with your healthcare provider before starting any workout regimen during pregnancy, especially if you do not exercise regularly.


Do

Do incorporate physical activity, even if you didn’t exercise prior to pregnancy

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week during pregnancy as long as there are no medical complications. If you are new to exercise and your medical provider clears you to start, try activities that are lower intensity and for shorter duration. For example, try walking for 15 minutes at an average pace. If you feel this is comfortable you can increase your time or intensity.

Do consider low impact exercise

Low impact exercise, such as yoga and swimming are great options, especially if you are having joint problems. Other low-impact exercises to consider include brisk walking, indoor stationary bicycling and low-impact aerobics. Work with your healthcare provider to find the best activity for you. Low impact exercises carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth

Do wear comfortable, supportive workout clothes

It’s important to wear clothing that is both flattering and supportive for your growing belly. Wear clothes that grow with your pregnancy, so that you are comfortable with how you look or feel while working out.

Do watch your weight to ensure proper gaining

Exercising during pregnancy can help keep you at an optimal weight. Gaining too many pounds puts you at risk for a tougher delivery and gestational diabetes. But gaining too little can affect your baby's growth. For women at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight, the target gain is usually 25 to 35 pounds. Work with your healthcare provider to set the right weight goal for you, and alert them if you don’t see a gradual progression towards that goal.


Don't

Do not shy away from high impact exercise if you’re an avid athlete

Higher impact exercise, such as running, can be continued, but most women start to get uncomfortable during the third trimester. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk while running. As you get closer to your due date, run on flat, groomed surfaces to reduce impact and avoid spills. If you’re not an avid runner, stick with the low impact exercises.

Do not exercise if you have a pre-existing medical condition before checking with your physician

If you have a medical condition, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes, it is important to discuss your exercise plans with your physician and ensure that your condition is controlled during pregnancy. There can be adverse effects on both you and your baby if your condition is not in check.

Do not dismiss tender or swollen calves

You may think this is normal after working out while pregnant, but pregnancy, water retention and swelling go together. However, swollen, red, and tender calves could be the sign of a blood clot. Let your doctor know about the changes immediately.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have signs of any discomfort during your physical activity or have questions about which workouts are best for you. Everyone is different, so your doctor can help tailor a physical activity routine that matches your lifestyle and current health condition.


Summary
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Exercise during pregnancy is important for many reasons, including reducing your risk of excess weight gain and gestational diabetes, preparing your body for labor, and helping with returning to your pre-pregnancy condition. Check with your healthcare provider before starting any workout regimen during pregnancy, especially if you do not exercise regularly and/or you have a pre-existing medical condition.


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Dr. Gia Fruscione, PT, DPTFounder of DLVR Maternity

Dr. Gia Fruscione, PT, DPT, is the founder of DLVRMaternity.com, an online community for expectant moms to find education, advice, and solutions for their changing bodies during and after pregnancy. Gia is a physical therapist and recent new mom...

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