Exercise During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman exercising

Every expert will tell you that women enjoying normal, low-risk pregnancies should exercise. Being in shape can reduce your risk of complications, prepare you for an easier labor and delivery, and help you bounce back after the baby is born. But what kind of exercise, how much of it is safe – and how many of us actually do it?

USA Today reported on some recent research that suggests most pregnant women can exercise more vigorously than previously thought. (The woman who ran the 2011 Chicago marathon mere hours before giving birth would probably agree with that!) Women are mountain biking, kayaking and even rock-climbing throughout their pregnancies – enough that the company Mountain Mama was founded in 2010 to manufacture maternity clothes for pregnant outdoorswomen.

With my first pregnancy, I did some gentle workout DVDs until I hit about 9 weeks, but then stopped due to a combination of fatigue, sciatic pain and a major case of the lazies. With this second pregnancy, I keep telling myself I should throw the jogging stroller in the car and take daily walks with my 3-year-old, but after working all day I never seem to have the energy. I have friends who have run and lifted weights throughout their pregnancies, but I also know a lot of women who say pregnancy is their time to just relax; I’m caught somewhere between the two – I want to exercise, I just don’t. (Yet.)

How about you? What kind of exercise are you doing while pregnant? Yoga? Step class? Zumba? Swimming? Rock-climbing? Chasing after your other kid(s)? Carrying the carton of ice cream from the fridge to the couch?