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Exercising While Pregnant

There are a lot of myths about pregnancy and exercising while being pregnant. It has long been believed that it was too risky to work out while pregnant because the baby would suffer damage and have birth defects. This is not true. As long as the mother is cautious and knows when and how to limit her activity, exercising and staying fit during pregnancy are beneficial for both her and the baby. Exercising can help with backaches, bloating constipation; can improve mood and relieve stress and will lower your changes of developing gestational diabetes.

The amount of exercise that a woman should do during pregnancy depends largely on whether or not she was physically active before pregnancy. The women who were not active and did not work out should work at a slower fitness level than women who was very active before pregnancy. ALL women should see their doctor before exercising during pregnancy; you might have an incompetent cervix or be having multiple children, both of which are good causes for you NOT to exercise, or at the very least limit the physical strain you exert on your self.

Women New to Exercising

Only about 20-30% of people exercise on a regular basis, so it is not a stretch to assume that most pregnant women were not very active before they were pregnant, but it’s not too late to start. If you are one of these women you will want to start out slowly and work up to maybe some light to moderate exercise sessions lasting 30 minutes for 3-4 times a week. If you find this amount of time difficult at first, start slowly adding five minutes as week each passes. You should note that you’re not trying to strain yourself to the point where it hurts or to where you cannot breathe normally. If you cannot carry on a conversation while exercising, you should slow down and not work as hard.

Some exercises that are good for you include taking brisk walks, swimming, water aerobics and yoga. These will help you stay fit and they won’t put too much strain on the baby or you. These exercises will strengthen the muscles supporting the uterus which relieves some of the pains of carrying a child; it also helps you prepare for the arduous task of delivering the child. Exercising is also shown to relieve stress and help people have a positive self image; both of these are good for pregnant women and help them control their mood and emotions.

• Swimming and water aerobics are ideal exercises for pregnancy. Not only do you feel 90% lighter when you are in water, but extra resistance from the water helps to build and tone the muscles in your body with less effort or strain.

• Yoga is also great for pregnant women. The stretching and breathing exercises help to prepare you for giving birth and teach you to calm and center yourself.

• There are also exercise classes made especially for pregnant women, these can help you by creating a comfortable atmosphere where there are people who are going through the same things as you are. It is also good to have an instructor there who knows what they are doing and can help ensure that you don’t hurt yourself or the baby.

Women Who Exercise Regularly

If you are one of the women who is very active, you should remain active just not as vigorously so. You may continue running but avoid over doing it. You body will let you know when you should slow down; listen to it. If you feel pain or discomfort, do not work through it like you would if you were training for a marathon. Again, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you are working out, if you are out of breath, this is a good sign that you need to slow down. Working out less is a good idea while you are pregnant, but you can still do moderate to strenuous exercises as long as you modify the way in which you do this. For example, if you like to lift weights, lift less weight but do more reps. Consult your doctor when you find out you are pregnant and map out a plan of some exercises that will make you feel good and also keep your baby safe from harm.

Overexertion While Exercising

Overexertion is something you need to avoid, because if you are over doing it, you are going to need more and more oxygen and you cut into your baby’s supply. In order to ensure that your baby is handling the extra effort you will want to make sure that they are kicking you about five times an hour (average for most babies) if they do not, don’t panic! Give it one extra half hour because the fetus has 20 minute sleep intervals and so they might not be kicking as often because of that. If the kicking stops altogether, you experience vaginal bleeding, membrane breakage or severe pain in you abdomen, you should cease physical activity and call or go to your doctor right away. Do not panic if your baby starts kicking harder after you exercise either. They are just reacting to the extra glucose and rush of oxygen that has been temporarily diverted because of the exercise.

Things to Remember While Exercising

• Drink lots of water, you need to make sure you stay cool and hydrated. Studies show that having a high core body temperature at the beginning of a pregnancy cause birth defects and dehydration later in the pregnancy can cause premature births.

• Wear light clothes that will absorb your sweat. When wearing tennis shoes or running shoes make sure that they have high supported backs to help you avoid foot or Achilles heel injuries. Your bras should be very supportive.

• Stop exercising immediately if you experience severe chest pains, vaginal bleeding or if your water breaks. Call or go to you doctor immediately so as to avoid any infections that could harm you and your baby.

• Stop using exercises where you lie on your back after the first trimester, or when you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous.

• Include a warm and a cool down when you exercise and stretch after you do.

• Avoid contact sports (football, hockey, base ball, etc), adventure sports ( rafting, scuba diving etc.) and any sports that might cause trauma like horse back riding or down-hill skiing.

• And, of course, remember that eating a well balanced diet will help you and your baby remain healthy and fit.

Comments »

  1. Tessa says:

    Hi, I do Swing dance classes where we are quite active and skip and jump around a bit. I usually feel a little bit puffed. Is this safe if I am in my first trimester?

  2. Ali beatty says:

    Well I’m only 15 , and I’m not sure if I’m pregnant or not . and I’m in the ROTC program which means I exercise big ! every friday . And I have to run a mile tomorrow . Will that hurt my baby if I am pregnant ?

  3. sjdiva says:

    if you have to run, make it a light jog and don’t take your heart rate over 140. Get a moniyor at wal-mart. as long as it stays there or below, your fine and drink lots of water. I run marathons and I am having to cut down alot but you’ll bounce back after quickly. Pray to God and ask Him to protect you and your baby.

  4. TRICIA says:

    Is it ok to lay out in the sun while you are pregnant?

  5. rosi says:

    i do zumba. should i keep doing it

  6. Maria says:

    I walked up a mountain thats 2280 ft high. i felt my heart rate was very accelerated but i didnt have a monitor so im not sure if i went over the 140 level. today i went to the gym and now im experiencing light bleeding and cramping. But then im not sure if im pregnant. me and my husband think i am…i’ve had a bit of nausea and i definitely feel more tired. im about a week late too…if i am pregnant i would be 4.5 weeks…what should i do?

  7. Maria says:

    if i am pregnant conception occured the 17th of april…about 5 days after that i also had light bleeding and cramping…..i dont now what could be going on…!!!!

  8. Tracy says:

    I just found out I’m pregnant. I’m probably about 4 or 5 weeks. I’m not happy with the size I am right now (I have bigger legs & butt) and would like to shed a few pounds before I gain much more weight. I want to start walking pretty often. Just wondering if it would be a terrible idea to get on the eliptical/treadmill and do some running? What about dancing at home?

  9. paula says:

    Can I still work out while pregnant Im 10 weeks pregnant? doing strenght workouts weights aerobic classes?

  10. Nicolle says:

    I am 7 wks and I have been exercising regularly, both aerobic and strength training. The strength training sometimes involves a moderate amount of weight, such as squatting 110, pushing 150, pressing over head 75+ lbs. If I have already been doing this level of weight do I need to reduce it? We also do things like flip large tractor tires, pull large boat anchor chains, use partially filled kegs for overhead press and running with weight…yes strange but we use whatever we can find to include in our bootcamp style exercise group. Do I need to avoid any of these activities even though I’ve been doing it for well over a year now?

  11. Esther says:

    I do hip hop dance classes once a week, I’ve been doing them for many years. The class involves little jumping but non stop, so I sweat for about an hour straight. I feel amazing after the class and it boosts up my mood and energy. Do I need to stop the class, if yes at what point in the pregnancy?


    I just found out im pregnant with my second child. I managed to lose all of my weight when i had my first child though.

  13. Venessa says:

    I started doing Zumba a couple weeks ago and i think i may be pregnant but its to early to find out. Should i continue at the regular pace or take it down a little i really wanted to loose at least 15lbs before i was pregnant?

  14. colts1010 says:

    At—–Ali Beatty, why are you 15 and having sex anyways?

  15. addyrocks says:

    you guys its not that hard to figure out, if you feel strained, are out of breathe, or push yourself to the point of exhaustion or pain dont do it, you should feel hyper after a workout not tired, if you are straining you are puiing stress on ur baby, if you are sweating you are over heated. just do it lightly, and no u should not lift kegs or tractor tires are you insane?

  16. mommy1408 says:

    hi i am preganat with my second baby and i am over weight i have had a lot of problem since i have my son but i am so happy to be having this baby what can i do to make sure nothing happens to me or the baby but i want to exercise what is the best thing for me to do..

  17. Abbi MANNING says:

    Nice articles… i am pregnant and these all informations are very helpful for me.i am so glad to read it.

  18. Bob galdoff says:

    helllo well i climbed a rock in my garden and fell off 🙂

  19. lovely says:

    At colts, I don’t think its any of your business if she’s having sex or not at 15. Are you her mother, otherwise don’t act like you aint never known teens to be having sex. Mind ya business.

    I’m about 5months pregnant and have been moderately walking durng my pregnancy because most anything else IS strenuous if not done lightly.

  20. Milly says:

    At colts1010, it happens. Girls are getting pregnant younger and younger. Atleast Ali Beatty is asking what she should or should not do if she is pregnant. I am 24 yrs old but I had my son at 16 and my daughter at 17. Ali Beatty, if you are pregnant whats done is done and now you need to grow up sooner and be responsible. First of all you need to go to the Doctor, you may need to talk to your parents or a counselor at the school. Becareful with the exercises you are doing in ROTC. If I were you I would not do the ROTC exercises until you are sure if you are pregnant or not.

  21. amy says:

    I work out a lot. I’m not sure if I’m pregnant yet. will doing sit ups in your your first couple of weeks of pregnancyhurt the baby or is it safe as long as you stop as soon as you know?

  22. amy says:

    I work out a lot. I’m not sure if I’m pregnant yet. will doing sit ups in your your first couple of weeks of pregnancyhurt the baby or is it safe as long as you stop as soon as you know?

  23. Sasha says:

    I’m around 6 weeks pregnant with my first baby.
    I dance 6-7 times a week, classical ballet & jazz ballet, as well as ballroom.
    Is it safe for my baby to continue dancing this amount, and when would be a good time to stop?

  24. jennie22 says:

    I am going to the gym and am not even a month yet i was walking alot before but now want to stay toned and keep walking and build up arm strength cause this is my second. A trainer there said depending on your weight and height as to how heigh your heart rate can go. But only do weights that feel just enough without straining. And drink plenty of water. I agree with Colts101O about that girl thinking she could be pregnant and only 15 the health of a baby is very important but thats not the only thing she has to worry about.

  25. Matt says:

    My mother’s water broke while she was playing tennis. She didn’t slow down much during pregnancy, and if it had an affect on me, then it was a positive one. I have been extremely active and fit my whole life, and strongly believe that my metabolism has a direct relationship with my mother’s and her activity while carrying me.

  26. Hammah says:

    why does it matter if shes 15 leave her alone, she just wants advice.

  27. Meaghan says:

    Hi so I’m 15 I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend 2 weeks ago and idk if I’m pregnant. I play softball and exercise Monday through friday an hour and thirty minutes everyday. Since were in offseason were lifting weights, jumping rope, and running. If I am pregnant could this hurt my baby? I plan to take a test as soon as I can but until then could I be hurting an unborn baby?:(

  28. Rebecca says:

    Well I’m 29 weeks this is my 5th child and I feel fat everyone say I look great. But I’m 123 and I “FEEL” like a cow.

  29. Shana says:

    Re: Colts 10… Leave Ali alone. Since the beginning of time women have been having sex since they started puberty and even expected to spawn children at ages as young as 11.It’s natural for all of us and who doesn’t want a relationship. Obviously she has something of a good head on her shoulders being involved in ROTC and is responsible enough to inquire on such topics. I wish you luck Ali and keep up the good work, you’re going to go far and will make a great mother either now or in the future!

    Re: Light bleeding and cramping… It is normal during incubation for women to bleed and cramp lightly. This is all part of the implantation process where the embryo attaches to the uterus and should persist for a few days sometimes. Mild cramping should be expected periodically throughout the entire pregnancy. Keep in mind, your abdomen is being reorganized to make room for this new, sweet little life inside of you.

    Re: Tracy… I too have a bigger butt and legs and during my first pregnancy indulged my cravings far too much resulting in me gaining almost 90 lbs easily.It took 2 years to lose 75 of those lbs and now I am pregnant again. The bigger we are in the beginning the easier it will be to gain weight which can lead to edema, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Tracy, you will want to use much caution when planning your snacks, and you will want to snack all the time. Best advice is to make a plan of what you want to eat while pregnant. List only healthy snacks (which can be tasty too). Lots of veggies and fruits and eat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Excersise is very important but do so in stride and do not over exert yourself. Sometimes too much of a good thing can actually be bad…

    Good luck to everyone!!!

  30. V224?? says:

    @ Ali Beatty , yeah that’s kinda sad that ur 15 and pregnant Mayb u should b worried about something else other than running like how ur life is ruined now and ur deff gonna end up a single mother.

  31. angel says:

    i am 6 months pregnant with my second child. i was very active before i got pregnant again would it be safe for me to start exercising again? and i also work 20 hours a week.

  32. Megwaz says:

    You know what is sad? It that there are people in the world like you! It is sad that you have nothing better to do than to pick on a 15yr old that is going through some major changes in her life. It is sad that you have to mak yourself feel better by puttig down other people! You know what is really sad? That you have no hope for her future. I think you still have some growing up to do…please do us ALL a favor and think before you type!

  33. Laura says:

    I’m 9 weeks along with my second child, while I was pregnant with my first I walked daily. During this pregnancy I’ve been looking into doing yoga thats specially designed for pregnancy. It seems quite interesting and from what I read each pose helps relieve back pain, hip pain, and puts your body as ease. If anyone thinks this could help I’d suggest going to:

  34. Scared says:

    Hi idk if I’m pregnant or not but if I am would it be safe for me to continue doing track? I’m not a runner I throw shot put which is 8lbs and discuss which is 2.2 lbs. I really need to know if it’d be safe to do those things

  35. amy says:

    i just wanna say that what that lady said may not be true for you i got pregnant at 17 with my first and 18 with my second 25 with my third now im 27 and having my last child my husband and i are still together now im not gonna say it was always easy we had rough spots but if yall really love each other you will make it and now we have been together for 10 yrs its better now than ever my husband works so hard for us and he loves us so much he has grown into a great man but i dont know if he would be here if it wasnt for me so hang in there.

  36. fitnessfreak says:

    people i am a gym instructor and i get people of allstages of pregnancy i try to ask them to refrain from doing any bouncing or heavy weight baring exercises. yoga is very good to keep your body toned without effecting the baby. the exercise i would recomend to all of you would be swimming or water aerobics it is non weight baring so the baby is unaffected and you are using muscles that u wouldnt during runing dancing etc. my clients have all found that it helps keep fitness and lose baby weight after childbirth. so i wish you all take my advice its up to you to or not but i wish you all the best of luck during your pregnancy and hope you all have fit and health babies best of luck to you all.

  37. Bella says:

    Well, I’m going on 20 this is my second pregnancy..With my first I put on 19.2lbs never felt sick,nor craved anythng.I wore my normal clothes till I was hitting my 5th month.. I’m currently 10 weeks and this babby seems to hate me! My normal clothes fit but are already getting snug,I have morning,Noon,and night sickness..My fiance and I were able to get pills from the doctor to help with nasea,but they don’t work so well..Anything else I can try? Also I jogged and did yoga with my first child, this second one leaves me feeling extreamly tired after any sort of workout..Why so?

  38. Jessica says:

    I do spin class….is that too intense? Because I feel fine doing?

  39. cowgril21 says:

    hi i am a very active person and i think i might be pregnant and am a little concerned with what type of exercise i should be doing. i dont want to hurt or strain my baby i do about 365 crunches and running and other aerobics. is this too much?

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