Baby On Board: Is It Safe For You To Exercise When Pregnant?

One of the most common questions that pregnant women ask their doctors when they find out that they're going to have a baby is 'will I still be able to exercise’? Fearing that they won't be able to carry on running, cycling, dancing or do any form of exercise for the next nine months. Don't worry, gentle exercise during pregnancy is actually encouraged by experts! It helps to keep both you and the baby fit and active as well as giving you the strength and fortitude to deal with the trials and tribulations of labour, as well as some spare energy when you’ve had next to no sleep for weeks on end all thanks to your newborn son, or daughter.

Flickr Photo Credit: Jonny Hunter

Gentle Exercise Is Great!

The key word here is gentle, i.e. nothing too strenuous or challenging that could harm you or your baby. Try to aim for thirty minutes of low, to medium impact activity per week such as running, yoga, ballet, swimming and even just speed walking. There are no rules about when pregnant women should stop exercising, in fact, many women carry on their regular workout routine right up until birth, but a good guideline is if it becomes too tiring or uncomfortable then it's time to ease off the gas a little. Now's also not the time to try a new diet, healthy eating plan or workout and you should be eating lots of nutritious meals, including plenty of fruit and veg as well as taking folic acid supplements that'll help baby's growth from as soon as you realize you're pregnant.

Don’t Push Yourself

Always stay hydrated, and if you're attending a fitness class or pregnancy yoga session inform the instructor not only that you're pregnant, but how many weeks you are so they can adjust your routine if necessary. Don't push yourself to complete workouts that you breezed through before you were pregnant. Your body is constantly changing and it may not now be capable of enduring ten reps in the gym. If you're in any doubt about what exercise is suitable in pregnancy, or if you've got underlying health issues then speak to your doctor about how to stay active.

Which Ones To Avoid

Activities that come with a risk of falling like horse riding, skiing, hockey, and ice skating should be avoided. You should also not spend prolonged periods of time on your back as your pregnancy enters it's 16th week, because your bump presses on your main blood vessels which can make you feel sick or dizzy. Pregnant women should also avoid any exercise at altitude or activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, the baby will not be protected from any nitrogen bubbles that enter the mother's bloodstream, and snowboarding. It's also not advisable for mother’s-to-be to take part in contact sports such as karate, kickboxing, and taekwondo where the risk of being accidentally kicked in the stomach is fairly high. Any sudden shock to the mother's body could lead to a miscarriage, or if she's in the later stages of pregnancy, bring on early labor causing the baby to be born prematurely and risking both their lives.

Flickr Photo Credit: Bonbon

This post is not meant to give medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for any health/fitness/pregnancy concerns.

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

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