If you have been following a
regular exercise program prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to
maintain that program to some degree throughout your pregnancy. Exercise
does not increase your risk for miscarriage.
If you are just starting an
exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy,
you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself.
Listen to your body. Your
body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of
exercise you perform.
Never exercise to the point
of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body
cannot get the oxygen supply it needs.
Wear comfortable exercise
footwear that gives strong ankle and arch support.
Take frequent breaks and
drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
Avoid exercise in extremely
Avoid rocky terrain or
unstable ground when running or cycling. Your joints are more lax in
pregnancy and ankle sprains and other injuries may occur
Contact sports should be
avoided during pregnancy.
Weight training should
emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area.
Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the
lower back muscles.
During the second and third
trimesters, avoid exercise that involves laying flat on your back, as this
decreases blood flow to your womb.
Include relaxation and
stretching before and after your exercise program.
Eat a healthy diet that
includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
When should you NOT exercise
during your pregnancy?
Although data are sparse, there
appears to be no reason why women who are in good health should not be permitted
to engage in exercise while pregnant. However, women with medical or obstetric
complications should be encouraged to avoid vigorous physical activity. Given
the current lack of data, a conservative approach is warranted when doubt
exists. Contraindications to exercise during pregnancy, as listed in the most
recent American College of OBGYN technical bulletin, are given below.
Preterm rupture of membranes
Preterm labor during the prior or current pregnancy
Incompetent cervix or cerclage placement
Persistent second- or third-trimester
Placenta previa/Low lying placenta
Intrauterine growth retardation
Thyroid function abnormality