Exercise During Pregnancy
A very common question for women who are pregnant is 'can I exercise during pregnancy?'. This page will answer this question and provides a wealth of free information on pregnancy exercises and pregnancy fitness. Naturally it makes sense to do a bit of research before doing anything that could put your baby at risk, and with the physical impacts of exercising while pregnant, you can't be blamed for wondering just how safe this actually is. But rest assured that this is something that is generally fine and you will find all sorts of information on exercises for pregnant women on this page.
If you want to know about exercise while pregnant then you obviously care about how your body looks and feels, why not check out our page on how to remove stretch marks as these are something that are inevitable following giving birth.
Can you exercise while pregnant?
Pregnancy fitness dos and don'ts
So you want to know if you can exercise while pregnant, either because you liked to stay in shape before, or that you think keeping a healthy and fit body is going to have a positive effect on your baby. Well the simple answer to this question is 'yes', you can exercise during pregnancy, as long as you bear certain things in mind. Below we have listed a few dos and don'ts when it comes to pregnancy fitness.
Dos for exercise during pregnancy
Stay hydrated- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after working out.
Stretch- Make sure your muscles are ready for the exercise.
Ensure you have calories to burn- Make sure that you are eating enough calories to be able to burn when you exercise so that you don't leave yourself worn out. For more information on calories in food please click here.
Moderation- Don't go hell for leather and ware yourself out, exercise in moderation and don't try to do more than your body permits you to do.
Find out first- Find out whether exercising during pregnancy is safe for you by speaking to your doctor first.
Don'ts for pregnancy exercises
Over do it- Do not push yourself as this can harm you and the baby.
Situps- Yes you are going to end up losing your nice tummy following giving birth, this cannot be aided by situps while you are pregnant!
Complications- If you pregnancy is complicated you will find that your doctor may recommend not taking part in exercise during pregnancy.
Exercise without checking what is safe- It is always best to check with your doctor or healthcare provide what is safe when it comes to exercising, don't think you know best over them.
So we have established that you can exercise while pregnant, to find out what the best exercises for pregnant women are please see below.
Exercises for pregnant women
So here we comes to the main part of the page where we talk about what exercises are good for pregnant women. Generally, exercising while pregnant is something that is safe, but sometimes if you have any sort of complicated pregnancy it is not, so it is always best to check with your doctor or health care professional before taking part in any regular physical activity during your pregnancy.
Providing that pregnancy exercise is not a problem for you, we have listed below various exercises for pregnant women that are safe and that can do you the world of good.
Swimming- This is one of the best forms of exercise whether you are pregnant or not. This is because it uses all of the major muscle groups and gives the cardiovascular system a good workout too. Just make sure that you pace yourself and don't overheat and it is possible to carry on swimming throughout the majority of your pregnancy. Many experts will tell you that swimming is the best exercise during pregnancy.
Walking- This is a very basic yet effective exercise for pregnant women. Going for a short walk each day really can keep you fit and healthy, especially when you are pregnant, the fresh air is not too bad for you either! If you don't want to have a walk outside you can always get a treadmill and do this at home or even at the gym.
Running- Running is a good exercise for pregnant women, however mainly for those that were running before they became pregnant. For more information please see our next section all about running during pregnancy.
Aerobics- Aerobics are a good exercise during pregnancy, as long as they are non-impact. You will often find that there are a lot of pregnant women wanting to do aerobics throughout their pregnancy so finding a class suited specifically to pregnant women should not be a problem.
Pilates- A very common exercise for women during pregnancy that can be done until rather late on.
Zumba- There are many different types of dance classes that count as pregnancy exercise, Zumba is one of the most popular.
Here are a few important tips when it comes to exercises for pregnant women that you should note down and adhere to as much as possible.
- Stay hydrated before, during and after your pregnancy exercises. Plenty of fluids are important for your body when you exercise whether you are pregnant or not, but more so of course if you are pregnant.
- Warm up properly before you take part in the pregnancy exercise, stretch out the muscles that you are going to be using in order to decrease the chances of pulling something while you are working out. Stretch gently and carefully though as your muscles, joints and ligaments are loosened slightly while you are pregnant and this means you could easily damage yourself with any intense and hard stretching.
- Warm down after you have finished your workout. Just as you need to warm your muscles up, you also need to warm them down as well so stretching carefully when you have finished your workout is a very good idea indeed.
- Get yourself an exercise buddy, they can make sure that you are alright all through your pregnancy exercises. This should especially be the case if you are running or cycling on your own away from home, and is also more important the further on in your pregnancy that you are. If you insist on going alone then at least let someone know where you are and how long you anticipate taking, this is purely a safety precaution, but a wise one none the less. If possible take your cell phone in case of an emergency.
- Remember that there is always going to be increased pressure on your bladder while you are pregnant, and if you are exercising and making muscles contract and expand then this can become more apparent, so go when you need to go!
- Make sure that you are wearing clothes that are comfortable for you, bearing in mind that these may not be the same things that you wore before you were pregnant. One key addition to the pregnancy exercise clothing wardrobe is a decent sports bra.
- Exercises for pregnant women can often put strain on the feet and ankles so make sure that you giving your feet the support that they need. Make sure that you have comfortable sports shoes, some brands and stores even cater for shoes that can be worn by pregnant women.
We hope that this section on exercise for pregnant women has been helpful to you. In addition to these exercises during pregnancy we have a specific section on running while pregnant below.
Running while pregnant
You will often see women running while pregnant, but this is often the case for women who were already doing so regularly before their pregnancy. This makes their bodies more used to this type of exercise and thus it easier for them to continue with it and wind the amount down as their pregnancy progresses. You can run while you are pregnant, just like you can walk, swim, cycle amongst a variety of other pregnancy exercises. Running during pregnancy is sometimes known to help ease the feeling of sickness that can sometimes occur in the morning, or even throughout the day. As long as your doctor gives you the thumbs up and says that it is ok to hit the road or the treadmill, running while pregnant is a great idea for as long as your body physically permits you to do so.
However, if you are new to running then deciding to start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant may not be the best idea that you have ever had. This is not to say that it is impossible but your body is going to be experiencing enough new things without you putting it through the mill with long runs. In this instance it is definitely best to speak to your doctor first as he may in fact ward you off running while you are pregnant. Plus there are plenty other methods of exercise for pregnant women, as we have portrayed above.
Running is a fantastic way to burn calories and keep your body healthy, it is also one of various ways to boost your metabolism, for more information on helping your metabolism work for you, please follow the link.
Working out while pregnant - Diet
One of the key things to take into considering when you are working out while pregnant is your diet. Your doctor will be able to tell you all of the correct foods to eat while you are pregnant in order to make sure that you have all of the relevant nutrition for you and your baby.
It is important that you are taking on board more calories as when you are exercising you are burning the store that you have. Eating nutritious foods, especially specific foods that give you energy, is a very good idea as this is going to make sure that you can exercise well and remain nourished. Generally you will need to eat some 300 extra calories per day than before you were pregnant, so if you are working out regularly while pregnant then it is important to bare this in mind as well. You weight will be watched carefully as you go through your pregnancy anyway, and it is important to discuss things such as exercise with your doctor or health care professional in order to obtain their advice.
When it comes to nutrition you should be making sure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy, and also that your baby needs too. Pregnant women will often need a high dosage of the essential vitamins and minerals as they are consuming for two. For further information on vitamins and minerals in food, please click here. Remember that although it is easy to take regular vitamin and mineral supplements, there is no better way to get these than from their natural food sources.
One other key pointer for women who are working out when pregnant is that it is vital to stay hydrated, so make sure that you are drinking plenty of water before, during and after your exercise.
Signs that you should stop your pregnancy exercises
If you follow the instructions of your doctor and don't go crazy with your pregnancy exercises then the chances are that you will be fine and do yourself and your baby a wealth of good. However, if any of the following signs and symptoms appear then it is best to stop immediately and seek medical advice.
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Fluid from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy
- Finding yourself short of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Head pains
- Weakness in your muscles
- Swelling of calf or ankles
- Chest pains
- Back pains
- Pelvic pains
- A noticeable reduction in your baby's movements
More than pregnancy exercises
There is plenty more to our site than just information on pregnancy exercises and pregnancy fitness. We have a whole range of pages on subjects that will interest anyone going through pregnancy, so please take some time to have a look at all of the free information that we have. If you are going to exercise during pregnancy then as we have already mentioned you will need to keep a close eye on your diet and nutrition, to find out about the essential vitamins and minerals in food that both you and your baby need please click here. Furthermore, if you are looking at exercises for pregnant women then you obviously care about how your body looks and feels, for information on taking care of your metabolism during and after pregnancy, please click here.