For most expectant mothers, exercise is completely safe throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Besides safety, studies have shown that regular exercise during pregnancy can keep mother and baby healthier, and contribute to a shorter labor and easier delivery. Even a woman who has not been a regular exerciser before can participate in pregnancy exercise as long as she follows a few basic guidelines.
First Trimester Pregnancy Exercise
With the exception of activities like skiing and contact sports, nearly any activity that you were doing before pregnancy is safe to continue – with your doctorâ€™s okay, of course! If you have any early pregnancy complications such as bleeding, your doctor may want you to wait on your exercise program until the risk of miscarriage has passed.
Pregnancy exercise during your first trimester works best if you pay attention to your body and follow its lead. If you are suffering from morning sickness or extreme fatigue, you can cut back on your routine until you feel more like yourself again. This is also not the best time to try to break your own record on how fast you can run a mile or how much weight you can bench press! If you take is slow and easy, your body will let you know how much of a workout it can handle.
Second and Third Trimester Pregnancy Exercise
Your ever-expanding stomach may dictate much of your pregnancy exercise as you get closer to your due date. One addition to your workout that you can almost always continue without fail is your Kegel. These exercises can help with your labor and delivery as well as with urinary incontinence both during and after your pregnancy.
Keep track of your heart rate during your workouts to make sure it does not go above 140 beats per minute. Raising your heart rate also raises your babyâ€™s, so anything higher can prove to be unsafe for both of you. Do not allow yourself to get overheated during exercise, and make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
As you get closer to your delivery time, it is a good idea to avoid exercises that require bouncing or jumping, since your pelvic floor is already holding plenty of extra weight. If you develop high blood pressure or other complications in the latter part of your pregnancy, your doctor may want you to quit your workouts in favor of rest and relaxation. Your doctor is always your best source of determining how much pregnancy exercise is safe for you.