Exercising throughout your pregnancy can help you achieve a healthier pregnancy and an easier recovery following birth. But the guidelines concerning exercise and pregnancy can sometimes be confusing. While you should always consult your obstetrician before beginning any type of exercise program, certain types of exercise are better than others when it comes to antenatal fitness, or fitness before giving birth. Choosing the right type of fitness and knowing how much exercise is recommended can give you the power to stay fit, healthy and safe during your pregnancy.
Your obstetrician has likely already urged you to keep fit during your pregnancy, and she has good reason to. Exercising while you're pregnant has a myriad of benefits, including a more positive outlook on your changing and growing belly. Exercise can help you manage some of the body pain of carrying excess weight, and can even help with labor pains and the birthing process. After the birth, exercise will have served you well by helping you achieve your post-baby body again, notes KidsHealth.org.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that a pregnant woman should exercise at least 150 minutes each week for a healthy pregnancy. As long as you don't have a risk for preterm labor or are having a high-risk pregnancy, it's fine to follow these recommendations. While 150 minutes may seem like a lot of time, breaking your exercise into 10-minute increments can make it more manageable and comfortable for you to achieve your weekly exercise.
Exercises to Try
Certain types of exercise are far superior to others when it comes to antenatal fitness. The March of Dimes suggests that you try low-impact, fairly safe fitness methods, including walking or running, dance, yoga or swimming. These types of exercise help you move your body and elevate your hear rate without putting you at risk for falls or contact with other players. Look for classes through your community center or local gym that are especially for pregnant women, as these classes will generally be safer for your growing body.
Exercises to Avoid
Some types of exercise should be avoided at all costs when pregnant, as they can cause injury to you or your baby, or cause an unsafe change in your body. For instance, contact sports or activities where you're at risk of falling, like skating or downhill skiing, should be avoided, because they could jar your body unsafely and lead to placental abruption or other pregnancy problems. Avoid exercises that raise your body temperature, such as Bikram yoga, sometimes known as "hot yoga."
If you ever feel dizzy or nauseated, or experience bleeding or fluid leakage while exercising, stop what you're doing and contact your obstetrician immediately, warns Babycenter.com.