Exercise & Pregnancy

While most women notice an increase and/or change in their eating habits during pregnancy, many will stop their exercise routines for the next nine months. Exercise is almost always safe for pregnant women and can aid in both delivery and post partum recovery.

Exercise & Pregnancy
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Overview
It is a good idea to maintain a regular exercise program throughout your pregnancy. Not only can exercising keep your body healthy, but it can also help reduce stress you may be experiencing. Exercise may also improve your posture and help shorten the delivery process. Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program during a pregnancy.
When to Avoid Exercise
Exercise can be dangerous to some women who are pregnant. Women who are spotting or have any kind of bleeding throughout the pregnancy should not exercise, since it may cause more harm than good. Pregnant women who have miscarried or have the chance of miscarrying should also avoid exercising. If a previous pregnancy resulted in a premature delivery, exercising may cause history to repeat itself; therefore avoid exercising while pregnant.
Allowed Exercises
Swimming, walking and low-impact aerobics are allowed throughout a pregnancy, but only if it is not a high-risk pregnancy. Biking is acceptable as well; however, as the pregnancy progresses, use a stationary bike instead in case coordination and balance become an issue. If you were a runner before becoming pregnant, it is allowed in moderation. Common sense should be utilized during a pregnancy. If a particular exercise seems a bit too strenuous, then it probably is.
Exercises to Avoid
There are few activities associated with exercising that pregnant women should avoid. Stretching is safe unless you bounce when stretching. Pull-ups, sit-ups and long-distance lunges should be avoided while pregnant. Activities such as hopping, jumping rope and skipping should be delayed until the baby is born. Snow skiing, water skiing and horseback riding are a bit much and should also be avoided. Although these exercises can be quite enjoyable, they may indirectly cause the unborn baby harm.
Safe Exercise Routine
Eating right and maintaining a healthy pregnancy through exercise is important. To ensure safety for both mom and the unborn child, avoid eating directly before exercising since this can cause nausea and cramping. Wear supportive shoes and comfortable clothing when working out, and avoid physical activities during extremely hot and humid weather. Get up and down from floor exercising slowly to avoid dizziness. Drink plenty of water in between workouts to ensure the body is staying hydrated.
Warnings
Pregnant women should stop all exercise if they experience chest pain or dizziness or have sudden heart palpitations. Also take notice of any unexpected bleeding, or if the fetal movements decrease while exercising. Get help immediately if any of these symptoms occur during exercise. Although exercise may be good for some pregnant woman, it can result in fatal complications if warning signs are not properly regarded. Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise routine while pregnant.
Resources
reference
American Academy of Family Physicians: Exercise During Pregnancy
reference
Baby Center: Pregnancy Exercise for Beginners