Pregnancy and Exercise

Moderate activity enhances your pregnancy.

By FamilyTime


Most doctors agree that for women experiencing normal pregnancies, exercise is beneficial. Nevertheless, before you begin any kind of exercise program, check with your health-care provider.

The Benefits
You'll feel better, look better, and sleep better when you include exercise in your day. While this is true when you are not pregnant, when you are expecting, exercise does even more.

Even light exercise helps reduce stress. It also prepares your body for labor and delivery by increasing your stamina and strengthening your muscles. Plus, a toned pregnant body will return to its pre-pregnancy shape more easily than otherwise.

The exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, too.

The Routine
Pregnancy is not the time to set records for your personal best! Start slow, keep it slow, and expect to decrease your level of activity as the months go on.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. If you are not used to exercise, begin with five or 10 minutes and slowly build up.

Choose low-impact activities, such as swimming, stationary bicycling, walking, yoga, and pilates. Avoid sports with risk of falling or that involve contact with others.

If you lift weights, keep them light and do not lift the weights above your head. Avoid putting strain on your back muscles. As you enter your second trimester, stay away from exercises that require you lie on your back.

Stop the minute you feel breathless, have pain, or are overly tired. If you have trouble taking a breath, your baby may be in mild distress, so be careful. Stop before you are overheated, too.

Drink lots of fluids (and especially water) before, during, and after you work out. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, force the fluids as they keep your body temperature constant.

Don’t exercise in the heat of the day. If it’s humid, stay inside or go to an air-conditioned gym. When your body temperature rises, it’s not good for the developing fetus, so be aware of this in the early stages of your pregnancy.

Finally, call your doctor the minute anything happens that causes concern. If you feel dizzy, have headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, chest pains, or blurred vision, stop exercising immediately.

You will find that moderate exercise enhances your pregnancy. Be sensible, take normal precautions, and enjoy these joyous months of glorious anticipation.