What is “Safe” Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercise is the best!

Regular exercise improves our health, helps us stay fit, improves our quality of sleep, and does just about every other positive thing we can imagine. This holds true during pregnancy as well—exercise during pregnancy is an important part of helping both mother and baby stay strong and healthy.

However, despite the importance of exercise during pregnancy, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before hitting the gym with baby in tow.

What is Considered Safe?

As great as exercise can be, there’s no escaping that some exercises just aren’t safe for pregnant women. This is particularly true for women in their third trimesters and who are nearing their delivery dates. We’ll review a few of the best pregnancy exercises in a minute, but before that, let’s review of a few “red flag” activities that should be avoided at all costs.

Exercises to Avoid

  • Contact Activities–This includes most sports or activities where bodies slam into each other. Naturally, pregnant mothers don’t make good linebackers. Keep baby safe by avoiding sports and activities that may result in hard blows or shocks to the abdomen.
  • Balance-Based Activities—This includes outdoor cycling, gymnastics, and anything else that requires coordination. Balancing, by nature, means a risk of falling. Falling while pregnant can be dangerous for mother and baby alike. Avoid exercising in positions that aren’t stable.
  • Bouncing Activities—Jarring activities like horseback riding can shake up your pregnant body and be hard on a growing baby. While these activities are no longer believed to cause miscarriages, women should exercise caution with vigorous activities all the same.

Baby-Approved Exercises Exercise

Now that we’ve covered the movements to avoid, let’s review which exercises are best for mommies-to-be:

  • Swimming ­– Swimming is a terrific exercise for growing mothers. Swimming is a low-impact, full body workout that is easy to perform during any stage of pregnancy.
  • Walking – It’s hard to beat good old-fashioned walking for exercise. Most women will have no problems continuing to walk even in the late stages of their pregnancies, but women must be careful to avoid slipping and tripping as their baby bumps become cumbersome.
  • Stationary Biking – Indoor cycling provides the cardiovascular, low-impact benefits of biking without the dangers of falling or the open road. Consider hopping on a stationary bike for a gentle and safe workout.
  • Weight Lifting – It might sound odd, but weight lifting can be a safe exercise option for pregnant women. Resistance exercises like weight lifting improve strength, cardiovascular health, and are great for fat burning. However, pregnant women should be careful when considering weight lifting routines. It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before beginning any type of weight lifting exercise.

Exercising Safely

Pregnancy doesn’t mean the end of your exercise routine. However, it may mean the end of your exercise routine as you know it.

Pregnant women are exercising for two—with that in mind, high-impact, vigorous, and dangerous activities should be avoided. Instead, mommies-to-be should opt for routines that are low-impact and gentle on the body. And, as always, consulting with a doctor is a good first step to make sure the exercise you choose will support you and your baby’s health.

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