If you're pregnant with twins, you're probably already aware that you have to follow very different guidelines throughout your pregnancy than women carrying a single baby. Exercise is no exception. Because preterm delivery is such a big concern with twin pregnancies, you need to take a gentle and cautious approach to activity of any kind.
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Before You Begin
Before getting active, ask your doctor whether it's okay for you to exercise, and if so, what forms she recommends. Different providers have different opinions on exercise for women carrying twins; many doctors advise patients to stop exercising once they reach their second trimester and some may even want you to discontinue activity as soon as you know you're pregnant with multiples. Even if your doctor approves of exercise into the second trimester, plan to give it up once you reach 24 weeks of pregnancy, at which point you should do no more than take a short stroll or a relaxing swim.
If your doctor gives you permission to work out, choose moderate activities; high-impact exercise can increase your risk of preterm labor and other problems, according to What To Expect. Steer clear of anything that raises your body temperature significantly or that puts too much downward pressure on your cervix. Exercises that don't require you to be on your feet, including swimming, prenatal yoga, riding a recumbent bike, stretching and light weight training are good choices, as is walking, as long as you keep the pace moderate. No matter what type of exercise you prefer, keep your body hydrated and fueled with plenty of water and nutrient-rich food. Get as much rest as possible.
To protect your body and your babies, it's important to be aware of the signs that you're overexerting yourself during exercise. Pain, dizziness and heart palpitations all are signals that you should stop exercising immediately and call your doctor. Braxton Hicks contractions, when your entire belly feels hard, are another indication that you're doing too much; rest, drink water and call your doctor if you're still having contractions after 20 minutes.
Keeping It In Perspective
Given the pressure that so many women feel to stay in shape, it can be frustrating for some women to give up their usual vigorous workouts in favor of light activity. If you feel this way, try to stay focused on your main goal, which is having two healthy babies. In just a few months you can return to your former exercise habits. In the meantime, keep in mind that even moderate exercise can help prevent excess weight gain, keep your muscles toned and boost your mood and energy.