If you’ve recently become pregnant or have decided to try for a baby, congratulations! Getting ready to welcome a new family member is an exciting and joyful time.
Many women wish to remain active and fit during pregnancy and wonder how they can safely stay in shape. The good news is, the vast majority of pregnant women can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy. In fact, exercising while pregnant comes with many physical and mental health benefits.
Anita Gondy, MD, Saovaros Michaels, MD, and Henry Luh, DO, our OB/GYN team at Women's Health Associates of Southern Nevada, Northwest, share tips that ensure you and your baby will stay healthy, fit, and safe during pregnancy.
For healthy women with a low-risk pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a similar amount of exercise to other healthy adults. Ideally, aim to exercise a minimum of 150 minutes a week, or approximately 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week.
Exercise for pregnant women should be moderate, meaning you’re still able to converse while exercising. If you’re not able to exercise for a full 30 minutes, start out trying to exercise for 5-10 minutes multiple times a day, and gradually up your activity time.
Like exercising when you’re not pregnant, you want to make sure you’re properly attired when working out. As your body accommodates your growing baby, this includes making sure you wear a sports bra, exercise clothing, and in some cases, a support belt for your belly that fit comfortably and properly support you.
Additionally, work out in a temperature-controlled area, and avoid exercising outdoors during hot or humid days, especially during your first trimester. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
The best exercise activities for most pregnant women are lower impact activities. Low impact exercises are safest for you and your baby, as they increase your heart rate without putting stress on your body.
Examples of aerobic exercise safe for most pregnant women include brisk walking, swimming, stationary bicycling, and water aerobics. To work on strength and flexibility, try prenatal pilates and yoga classes.
On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid high impact activities that risk injury to you or your baby. This includes activities where you might get hit or punched, such as kickboxing, basketball, or soccer, or sports with a high risk of falling, including horseback riding, ice skating, and skiing.
You’ll also want to avoid exercise that is so strenuous you have difficulty talking during the activity. Your flow of oxygen changes during pregnancy, so you might find yourself needing to exercise at a slower pace than before pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a great time to continue doing your typical exercise routine, but not to start most new exercise programs. For example, if you’re a regular runner or jogger, it’s usually okay to continue doing so during pregnancy, but otherwise, wait to start a running program until after you’ve given birth.
If you were inactive prior to your pregnancy, our doctors can help you start a gentle exercise routine while pregnant. Walking and swimming are usually safe exercises to begin doing during pregnancy.
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to watch your body for certain warning signs during exercise. Stop exercising and call The Association for Women’s Health Care, Ltd. if you experience vaginal leaking or gushing, regular or painful uterus contractions, dizziness, muscle weakness, chest pain, or feel short of breath before you begin your exercise.
Before beginning your pregnancy exercise routine, it’s important to get cleared for exercise by our doctors at The Association for Women’s Health Care, Ltd. At your prenatal visit, our doctors evaluate your and your baby’s overall health, discuss your exercise goals, and help you devise a custom routine safe for your pregnancy and fitness goals.
Our OB/GYNs offer preconception counseling as well as care throughout your pregnancy. We’re located in Las Vegas and serve patients throughout southern Nevada. To visit our caring and experienced team, make your appointment by calling WHASN - NW at 702 254 8900. Feel free to call or text.