Know the Dos and Don’ts of Exercise During Pregnancy

As long as your pregnancy is not high risk, Dr. Bardowell recommends you exercise routinely most days of the week for 30-60 minutes. Results from numerous, careful research studies backed by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) wholeheartedly agree.

Along with proper prenatal care and a healthy, nutritious diet, exercise is one of the best things you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

It’s been shown to:

Study findings also indicate that exercising while pregnant may:

Exercise also helps decrease the need for a Cesarean section (C-section) and improves your odds of completing a successful vaginal delivery by:

Almost all pregnant women can benefit from routine exercise. There are, however, a few exercise dos and don’ts that Dr. Bardowell recommends you follow to help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy and delivery.

1. Do check with Dr. Bardowell about exercising during your pregnancy.

If you’re already exercising regularly, you may not need to make many changes to your routine during the first trimester, but Dr. Bardowell can explain what to expect as your body undergoes the changes associated with pregnancy. You’ll likely notice, for instance, that you require a little more rest than usual and should heed your body’s call to back off a bit.

It’s also important to talk with Dr. Bardowell first if you’re planning to try a new type of exercise or haven’t been active before your pregnancy. He can identify the kinds of exercise you should avoid, such as those that put you at risk for falls, and help you develop a fitness strategy that carries you through your pregnancy.

2. Do expect to switch over to low-impact activities as your pregnancy progresses.

As your baby grows, running and other high-impact activities that require hopping, skipping, bouncing, or jumping are uncomfortable and may even put your pregnancy at risk. Walking, swimming, and stationary biking are low-impact activities that get your heart pumping, but decrease the stress and strain associated with high-impact exercise.

3. Do participate in strength training.

Although you should avoid strengthening exercises that require you to lie on your back or hold weights over your tummy, you can lift free weights and work out on various weight machines at the gym.

Also avoid any movements or machines that require significant twisting at the waist, and remember to breathe normally throughout your workout. Working with a trainer who is experienced in prenatal routines is often beneficial.

Other exercises you should avoid during pregnancy include:

4. Do consider including yoga in your routine.

Yoga builds strength, keeps your muscles limber, and teaches you breathing rhythms that may be helpful during delivery. It can also help you learn the art of relaxation, which is especially important as you face the exciting but stressful changes associated with pregnancy and parenting.

You should, however, avoid yoga poses that require:

Also consider Bikram or “hot” yoga completely off-limits during your pregnancy.

5. Don’t participate in contact sports or any activity that may cause even mild abdominal trauma.

Softball, basketball, volleyball, and other contact sports increase your risk of falling or being struck in the abdomen. The quick changes in direction that are typically required for these types of sports can also cause abdominal stress and strain.

6. Don’t exercise outdoors when it’s hot, excessively humid, or extremely cold.

Move your workout indoors when the weather becomes extreme to avoid dehydration and other serious medical conditions.

For further information and assurances regarding the benefits of exercising routinely during your pregnancy, schedule a visit with Dr. Bardowell.

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