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Pregnancy

Getting Started: A Guide To Exercising During Pregnancy

Dr. M. Pradhan
March 2, 2018 . 3 min read

We went over why you should exercise in pregnancy before. But once you do decide to start, where do you begin? As with any exercise regimen, especially while pregnant, getting a thumbs-up from your physician from the get go is essential. 

Once you do get the approval from your doctor, exercise can be performed for 30 minutes a day, 3 to 5 times a week. And because you’re pregnant, here’s a short guide to the exercises that are safe. Before you start, remember remaining hydrated is important – drinking up to half a litre of liquid before exercising and half a glass of water every 20 minutes during exercise should be sufficient to maintain adequate hydration. You may not feel thirsty, but it’s important to replenish all the lost fluids! 

Exercises you should say YES to: 

1.    Walking

This is one of the most common exercises recommended by doctors and enjoyed by pregnant women. Exercising should not result in pain, shortness of breath or excessive exhaustion – and walking fits this bill for most people. 

2.    Stationary cycling and elliptical 

Exercises performed lying down, or involving long periods of standing are not recommended after the first 3 months of pregnancy. 

3.    Swimming and water aerobics

It is important to not raise your core body temperature too much- hence exercising in the early morning or late evening is preferred. Getting your daily activity in water is good for the same reason. 

4.    Yoga

Yoga helps with lowering blood pressure, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and increasing your overall quality of life while pregnant. Moreover, most yoga studios/YouTube channels provide specific classes for pregnancy which makes it a convenient option. However, to make sure you are not raising your body temperature, hot yoga is to be avoided.  

AVOID the following exercises

1.    Gymnastics, horseback riding, skating, skiing

These activities require balancing and may involve sudden changes in body position, hence are considered unsuitable for pregnant women. 

2.    Burpees, crunches, stability ball exercises

For the same reason, these exercises commonly employed in circuit exercises are not recommended – especially in late pregnancy. 

3.    Basketball, kick-boxing, martial arts, racquet sports – tennis, badminton, squash

These activities that would carry the risk of trauma to the stomach area – which obvious in itself as to why they are not recommended. 

4.    Heavy weight lifting

Weight lifting involves increases in the pressure in your abdomen, which in turn will increase the pressure on your uterus. 

5.    Scuba diving

The deeper one goes into the water, the higher the pressure surrounding us. Hence increasing the pressure on your body will increase the external pressure on your stomach area – which as mentioned before is a bad idea. 

While this list might be helpful to someone who was not active or exercising before they were pregnant, it is totally fine to continue an exercise which you performed before you were pregnant. And this includes weight lifting! Each pregnant body is unique in its own way and there is no one perfect way to be pregnant. 

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