Stay healthy when you’re expecting
Continuing to work out while you’re pregnant has been shown to help you maintain a good weight, improve posture, reduce backaches and lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Regular activity also may improve your ability to handle labor and make it easier to get back in shape after the baby is born. So if you are healthy and having a normal pregnancy, you should be able to continue most athletic activities—at a lower intensity.
Follow these rules of thumb:
Walking, swimming and water aerobics are great activities to continue during pregnancy.
Running and bicycling are fine if you were a runner or regularly rode your bike before you got pregnant. As your pregnancy progresses, be careful of the terrain to reduce your fall risk. Move inside to a stationary bike after the second trimester.
Avoid soccer, basketball, volleyball and any other recreational contact sports after your first trimester.
If you do strength training, decrease to lighter weights with higher repetitions.
Stop yoga, pilates and other exercises that compress the belly in mid to late pregnancy.
Avoid high-impact aerobics during pregnancy. Avoid any exercise that involves rapid or uncontrolled bouncing or jerky movements. But low-impact aerobics are OK and will keep your heart and lungs strong.
You’ll also want to avoid horseback riding, skiing or gymnastics because they increase your fall risk.
You should also keep these tips in mind:
Stay hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
Maintain good posture. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body and don’t push your limits.
Do not work out in excessive heat or humidity. And never work out to the point of fatigue.
Discuss your workout plans with your doctor. Some discomfort during pregnancy can be normal, but pain is not. If you experience pain, vaginal bleeding, dizziness or contractions while exercising, stop and contact your doctor.
Note that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women should exercise three to five times a week.