Everyone knows that it’s important to take care of your physical body when you are pregnant, but this goes beyond trying to eat a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. Getting daily exercise is just as necessary as those things, and can make a huge difference in how you feel during pregnancy as well as the condition your body is in when you go into labor.
But what exercises are best for you? That all depends on what types of exercise you already do. In general, it is said that you can continue to perform activities and exercises that you normally do in your daily life as long as it is comfortable for you.
When I was pregnant with our first child, I had just started taking horseback riding lessons. I was advised to stop because it isn’t something that my body was used to, and there was a risk of placental abruption due to the pelvic motion caused by riding. That was pretty disappointing, but I obviously wanted to keep my body and my baby safe, so I stopped.
I knew that exercising while pregnant was very important, but I will also be the first to admit that I was terrible at it. Setting a goal for myself seemed daunting at first, but finally I settled on trying to walk for at least 30 minutes each day. As it turned out, this became a very real and enjoyable goal that I met just about every day.
If you enjoyed hiking, swimming, cycling, or jogging before you got pregnant, you can usually continue to do these activities while you are pregnant so long as you aren’t experiencing any complications. Prenatal yoga is a wonderfully gentle form of exercise that can help you to relax and increase flexibility, making it great for your mind and body, and can be done safely by most women without complication. More strenuous activities like weight training, cross-fit, etc may be continued into pregnancy if you have an established practice, but it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor just to make sure. It is not recommended that you start any intense exercise training after becoming pregnant as this can significantly increase your risk of complications.
Signs to watch out for:
Whether you are continuing an established exercise practice or starting a new one, it is important to be aware of serious symptoms of possible pregnancy complications. If you notice any of these, stop immediately and contact your doctor:
*Shortness of breath
*Fluid leaking from the vagina
In general, do what feels good to your body. Do not push yourself to do more than you feel you are able, and let your doctor know immediately if you have questions or if something doesn’t feel right. Otherwise, enjoy doing something amazing and nourishing for you and your baby!