Regular physical activity during pregnancy has many health benefits for you and your baby, and these gains are as important as ever — particularly since you may be more sedentary these days due to the pandemic.
Combined with making healthy nutrition choices, exercising during pregnancy: Improves general fitness; promotes healthy weight gain; helps with postpartum weight loss; reduces the risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and high blood pressure; eases aches, back discomfort and constipation; and improves sleep quality.
So, in the interest of better health, consider getting a move-on. Just be sure to discuss your workout plans with your healthcare provider before you begin, to ensure that any regimen you’re interested in won’t negatively impact your and your baby’s health.
It’s important to maintain a consistent level of activity, whether you work out in your own home or venture outdoors. Make everyone’s safety a priority: Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations regarding mask wearing and social distancing (stay at least six feet from other people). Stay at home if you are sick, and avoid others who are sick.
The CDC recommends that healthy pregnant and postpartum women exercise 150 minutes per week (typically 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week). Exercise should be moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Begin any regime slowly, then increase your activity and intensity gradually. Don’t forget to warm up before exercising and to cool down afterward with safe stretching.
Safe activities include brisk walking, swimming or water aerobics, low-impact aerobics, light weightlifting, stationary bike riding, yoga or Pilates (but skip hot yoga and hot Pilates, which may cause you to become overheated). If you have been running, you can continue to do so during and following pregnancy.
Avoid contact sports such as soccer and basketball. You don’t want to risk falling, so give horseback riding, skiing, surfing, waterskiing, skating and gymnastics a miss.
You can be creative, incorporating extra movement into your day: Take the stairs at a brisk pace instead of using the elevator. Park further from your destination (the store, your office, your healthcare provider appointment, etc). to get in some extra walking.
Remember the Basics
Safety is paramount: Stay hydrated during your workouts. Keep your cool: Don’t get overheated. Avoid lying flat on your back. Get the support you need by wearing the appropriate clothing: a sports bra that fits well, supportive workout shoes, comfortable tops and exercise tights/pants/shorts.
Know When to Stop
Always listen to your body. Never exert yourself beyond your physical capabilities. Contact your provider right away if you feel dizzy or faint, have chest pain, have a headache or any muscle weakness, notice any vaginal leaking or bleeding, have calf pain or swelling or are experiencing contractions.
Every Movement Matters
All exercise benefits you and your baby, so get going. Stay safe, enjoy your workout — and feel (and look) terrific!