Exercise is a key part of staying healthy. Everyone needs daily physical activity – including pregnant women. Getting regular exercise during pregnancy benefits both you and your growing baby and has few risks. If your pregnancy is healthy, you can do most types of exercise, but you may ned to make a few changes.
Benefits of Exercise
If you have never exercised before, pregnancy is a great time to begin. Regular physical activity during pregnancy can start you on a path toward a healthier lifestyle for the rest of your life. You also will set a good example for your family about the importance of staying active. Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits both you and your baby in key ways:
- Reduce back pain
- Eases constipation
- May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
Before You Start
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity. Physical activity does not increase your chances of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other members of your healthcare team during your early prenatal visits. If your obstetrician gives you the OK to exercise, discuss the specific sports or activities that interest you. The two of you can work together to decide on an exercise routine that fits your needs and is safe during the pregnancy.
Exercising After the Baby is Born
Exercising after your baby is born may help improve mood and decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can occur more frequently in women in the weeks after childbirth. In addition to these health benefits, exercise after pregnancy can help you lose the extra pounds that you may have gained during your pregnancy.
If you had a healthy pregnancy and normal vaginal delivery, you can start exercising as soon as you feel up to it and your obstetrician gives you the OK. It is best to start slowly and gradually build up to 150 minutes a week of physical activity. If you had a cesarean delivery or other complications, it may take you longer to return to a regular exercise routine.
Pregnant women who exercise regularly have lower risks of excess weight gain. They also have fewer aches, more energy, and better muscle tone. Talk with your doctor about the best way to start and maintain a healthy exercise routine during your pregnancy. We are here to help! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.