5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

A multi-ethnic group of people are stretching after a fitness class in a gym studio.

Having a baby is an exciting time. Choosing a cute baby name, picking out clothes and decorating the child’s room are just a few of the fun things parents get to do as they wait for the arrival of their newborn. Yet, pregnancy also comes with some fears for expectant mothers. Moms want to make sure they keep their bodies healthy and strong without overdoing it. Many wonder if they can continue to exercise during their pregnancy.

The answer is “yes!” Medical professionals agree that pregnant women who stay active tend to have less back pain, more energy and a quicker return to their pre-pregnancy bodies after delivery, according to Fit Pregnancy. Here are five tips for exercising safely during this time:

1. Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of water as one exercises is even more important during pregnancy. Dehydration can lead to a reduction of blood to the placenta, contractions or the possibility of overheating, according to BabyCenter. Expectant mothers should keep a water bottle handy and full during activity. To ensure they’re hydrated enough, women should monitor the color of their urine. Unless it’s pale yellow or close to clear, pregnant women should keep drinking water.

“Pregnant women should avoid working out to the point of exhaustion.”

2. Take breaks

Expectant mothers may want to exercise like they used to before they were pregnant, but that can be extremely difficult. It’s common for pregnant women to feel out of breath while they’re active, as they are actually taking in 20 to 25 percent more air to eradicate the carbon dioxide being produced by both the baby and the mother.

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Increased breathing is almost a guarantee for expectant mothers exercising, but women should be aware of their body’s signals. Working out until exhaustion or fatigue can be dangerous, so expectant mothers should avoid it.

3. Know what to avoid

While exercising during pregnancy is good for expectant mothers, there are certain ones women should refrain from. What to Expect recommends women avoid activities including hot yoga, rollerblading, racquet sports, those that require women to hold their breath or lie on their back (which is off limits after the first trimester) and backbends or other contortions. Exercises that involve balance and jumping motions necessitate some additional precautions but are okay until they create discomfort.

4. Monitor your blood sugar

Since exercising burns calories, expectant mothers need to ensure they maintain a certain blood sugar level during physical activity. Keeping snacks on hand can help pregnant women avoid nausea and dizzy spells both during exercise and after, according to Women’s Health magazine. Strengthening and nourishing their bodies will help women gain pregnancy weight in a healthy way, while also enabling them to remain active.

5. Stop if necessary

Exercising is a good way for expectant mothers to stay in shape, but only as long as it’s completely safe. Women should get their doctor’s OK and recommendations for physical activity. If pregnant women experience any of the following symptoms, however, they should reduce or completely stop exercising, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Preeclampsia or high blood pressure.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Cervical problems.
  • Placenta issues.
  • Premature rupture of the membranes.
  • Severe anemia.
  • A multiple pregnancy at risk of preterm labor.