Working Out While Pregnant

image001When you are pregnant, working out is an important part of staying healthy. Exercise can offer great benefits for you and the baby. Beyond the usual health benefits of exercise, it can also prepare you for labor and delivery, and might help lift those baby blues that so many women experience. But exercise during pregnancy must be safe! These tips for working out while pregnant will help ensure that you stay healthy and strong and your baby stays safe and secure.

Safety Rules for Working Out During Pregnancy

When it comes to working out while pregnant, safety is the key. These things will help ensure that you can continue your workouts while pregnant and not worry about your baby while you do.

Safety Rules

What You Should Do

Talk to the doctor first

Make absolutely sure that your type of exercise is okay for your pregnancy. Some women who have high-risk pregnancies, such as those at risk of miscarriage or early labor, might have to curtail their exercise. That’s why it is so important to make sure your doctor gives you the green light for whatever exercises you want to try.

Keep a healthy diet

Remember that your body needs to have all the nutrients and minerals necessary for a growing baby. Vigorous exercise can burn off plenty of calories, but you need to ensure that you are still getting enough to keep your baby strong. Aim for an extra 300 calories a day while pregnant, but you might need more if you work out a great deal. Get the extra calories from health food sources like proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Wear proper clothes

Your clothing should be loose and breathable. Avoid anything that constricts you, especially around your belly. A good sports bra is a must, and you might want to consider a belly belt during the last few months, to help support your growing weight.

Warm up

Your body is likely experiencing a lot of aches and pains while pregnant; don’t make it worse with injury! Warming up before exercise is essential to get those ligaments stretched and those muscles ready to work.

Keep hydrated

Water during exercise is always important, but it is even more so during pregnancy. Dehydration can raise your body temperature and lead to premature labor, so it’s very important to drink water before, during and after your workouts.

Get up and down slowly

If you are on the floor for any of your workout, get up and down slowly. Pregnancy changes your center of balance, and that means you could easily fall. Many pregnant women also report a change in blood pressure when they stand up, which might make you dizzy. Be careful!

Avoid lying on your back

When you lie on your back, the growing weight of the baby can press on your vena cava, which is a major vein that runs down the center of your body. This can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy, and might compromise oxygen to the baby. Avoid lying on your back during any exercise routine.

Don’t overdo

When you aren’t pregnant, you can push your body hard. When you are pregnant, you have to be careful. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you exercise. If you are too out of breath to do that, it’s time to slow down.

Don't get overheated

When your core body temperature goes up, it can mean trouble for your baby, especially in the first trimester. Make a point of not becoming overheated. Slow down when you need to, drink plenty of water, and stay in a cool room while you work out.

Listen to your body: know the warning signs

When working out while pregnant, be ready for the danger signs. If you experience dizziness, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath that doesn’t go away with rest, uneven or rapid heartbeat, or decreased fetal movement, stop and call your doctor. If you are suffering from contractions, vaginal bleeding, or fluid leaking from your vagina, stop exercising and get to a hospital immediately to be checked out.

Make it a habit

Commit to exercising on most days, and try to keep up that pace. The more you exercise, the healthier you will be, and the easier you will be able to handle labor and delivery when the time comes.

This video can give you even more information about which exercises are okay and what precautions to take for working out while pregnant:

Working Out While Pregnant-- What to Do and to Avoid 

Not sure what’s safe and what’s not? Here are some tips for working out while pregnant:

Workout Safe to Practice

Try out exercises that are easy on your body, but still give you the kind of flexibility you need. Things like dancing, swimming, yoga, Pilates, biking, walking or water aerobics are perfect for the pregnant woman. Some women find that swimming is especially delightful, because the buoyancy can ease a lot of aches and pains that come from carrying around a baby in your belly! But avoid anything that makes your body bounce.

Walking is an exceptional exercise for most people, but especially for pregnant women. Vary the distance and pace, and tackle some hills if you are feeling particular energetic. Walking one mile, three days a week is a good idea at first. Add a few minutes each week, go a bit faster, and then add the occasional hill. Remember to warm up for five minutes before and give yourself five minutes after to cool down.

Workout to Avoid

As mentioned before, avoid any exercises that require you to lie down on your back. Even when taking yoga, avoid the postures that put you in a prone position. It is also a good idea to avoid exercises that include bouncing, jumping, sudden changes of direction, anything that would cause a jarring motion, leaping, and the risk of abdominal injury or pressure. Pregnant women should definitely avoid risky or contact sports, such as downhill skiing, scuba diving, horseback riding, skydiving, and even things like touch or flag football. These things can pose a risk of injury to you or the baby, so it is best to steer clear of those while you are expecting.

Click here to learn our full list of recommended workout while pregnant as well as those to avoid.

Still looking for a great way of working out while pregnant but want to stay at home? This might be your answer: