Maintaining a regular exercise regimen throughout your pregnancy offers numerous health benefits for you and baby. Exercise can boost your mood, improve sleep quality, reduce aches and pains, prepare your body for childbirth, and help prevent gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women exercise 30 minutes a day most days of the week. During the first trimester, women have typically only gained a few pounds and do not have balance issues yet so exercise will be more comfortable than later in the pregnancy.
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Dancing During Pregnancy
Dancing is a fun aerobic form of exercise during early pregnancy. Dance as you normally would, whether it's in your home or a group class. Dance for at least 20 minutes three times per week and adjust the intensity of dancing based on how you feel. Be sure to keep your workout low-impact and keep one foot on the floor at all times by opting to march or step side to side instead of jumping.
Yoga is an excellent cardiovascular workout that relieves stress and tension, tones and stretches muscles, and improves balance and circulation. The meditation and breathing techniques of yoga can also prepare an expectant mother for the demands of labor and delivery. Most forms of yoga are safe, but a prenatal yoga class will be adapted to the abilities and safety needs of pregnant women.
Low-impact aerobic exercise builds muscle tone and strengthens your heart and lungs. If you were already participating in aerobics before you became pregnant, you will most likely be able to continue throughout your 1st trimester. You may want to join an aerobics class or watch an exercise DVD that is designed for expectant women. To minimize stress on your joints and prevent falls, avoid any kind of jumping, leaping, or kicking that can cause you to lose your balance.
Walking During Pregnancy
Walking is one of the best and safest cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. Walking is low-impact, easy on your joints and doesn't require a high fitness level. You can walk wherever is convenient and accessible to you, so it can be easily incorporated into your schedule. You should be able to continue at the intensity you were walking before you became pregnant or if you were previously inactive, start slow and work your way up to brisk 20- to 30-minute workouts.
Swimming During Pregnancy
Swimming is a great low-impact cardiovascular exercise that tones your body and raises your heart rate while sparing any stress on your joints. Swimming also improves circulation and builds endurance. Swimming is an activity that poses a low risk of injury and you're not likely to overheat. Swimming may help ease nausea and boost energy during the first trimester.
If you have a medical problem, exercise may not be advisable. Be sure to consult your health care provider before starting an exercise program. Always begin by warming up and stretching adequately and wear loose fitting and comfortable clothing. Drink water before, after and during your workout and make sure to consume enough calories to meet your pregnancy needs as well as for your exercise program. Listen to your body and trust what it tells you. Stop exercising when you begin to tire – do not wait until you've reached the point of exhaustion.