Should you Exercise During your Pregnancy?

This is often one of the most asked questions when visiting your OBGYN. Whether it is to continue an exercise program or starting a new one. A new child brings up new challenges, a desire for change, and a desire to keep healthy. The following should help in most cases but not all.

For some patients, the risk is real. Miscarriage, back pain, pre-term delivery and more are possible.

A maintenance exercise program or beginning a new exercise program can be very beneficial while Pregnant. There are a lot of things to consider including your current fitness, health, medications, pregnancy complications, and more.

It is proven that exercise can improve health and decrease risk for stress, back pain, fatigue, and overall feeling of discomfort.

This is not a “weight-loss program” but a “health program“. The level of which you exercised prior to pregnancy may need to change. It is important to remember that in some cases, vigorous exercise may be harmful.

If you never have been apart of a program please consult your medical provider but this often will not prevent you from exercising.

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Possible Exercise Activities and Programs

1.) Category I (Relatively no risks:)

–  Walking  [briskly]
–  Swimming [do not hold breath for long periods of time]
–  Cycling indoors
–  Elliptical machine
–  Yoga

2.)  Category II – some increased risks – can still be done but should be done in moderation

–  Jogging
–  Tennis
–  Racquetball
–  Weight-lifting [should be monitored closely with minimal weights – certain programs should be completely ignored]

Program Guidelines

1.)  Drink plenty of water – prior, during, and after exercise
2.)  Proper shoes to avoid falling, tripping, and unbalance during exercise
3.)  Make sure you are eating 300 additional calories a day
4.)  Remember – this is not a “weight-loss program” but a “health program”
5.)  Proper form and movement is essential
6.)  Workout on flat surfaces
7.)  Never workout extensively
8.)  Do not become out of breath

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What symptoms or findings should make you concerned?

–  Bleeding
–  Spotting
–  Fluid gushing from vagina
–  Trickling of fluid that is consistent but that doesn’t go away
–  Intense abdominal pain
–  Start contractions unexpectedly
–  Intense headache
–  Nausea
–  Dizziness
–  Vomiting
–  Change or decrease in fetal movement
–  Shortness of breath
–  Change in heartbeat – Irregular
–  Large amount or sudden swelling in hands, feet, legs, or other

*** – Remember that these symptoms don’t necessarily mean something serious is occurring but you should seek medical attention and advice often without delay.

Exercises to Avoid (Cautions):

–  Contact sports   (Softball, Basketball, Volleyball)
–  Activities with running, jumping, bouncing
–  No twisting movements
–  No full sit-ups or leg lifts
–  No exercise in hot or humid weather

**** – Granted, there will be patients that run a marathon the week prior to delivering. In these cases, they may have been running their entire pregnancy. They are hopefully also being closely monitored by their OBGYN.

*** – Some exercises may be okay up until the 3rd trimester. Talk with your provider to see what is best for you.

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