Baby, Let’s Move

Exercise During Pregnancy

by Erica Perkins

Many moms-to-be worry about whether or not exercising while pregnant is safe for their baby The answer is: Yes! The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women should perform at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most, if not all, days of the week, including both cardiovascular and strength conditioning activities.

Pregnant women should always discuss their exercise routines with their care provider and follow all recommended guidelines, particularly if there are any contraindications such as diabetes, preeclampsia, risk for preterm labor, or orthopedic limitations. For aerobic conditioning, activities like walking, swimming, dancing, elliptical and rowing machines, and group exercise classes are safe options. Women who run prior to becoming pregnant can often continue to run or jog until it becomes uncomfortable. Most strength training activities can also be safely performed with minor modifications to accommodate a growing belly and shifting center of gravity. Pregnant women should pay careful attention to proper form and body mechanics when lifting weights and avoid performing exercises flat on their backs after the first trimester. Also, exercising outdoors in hot, humid weather should be avoided, and extra water should be consumed to prevent dehydration.

Regardless of what type of exercise an expectant mom engages in, she should aim to maintain a level of intensity at which light conversation is comfortable. This is called the “talk test”—at a moderate intensity level, a woman should be able to engage in normal conversation easily. If talking becomes difficult, she should slow down until the heart rate decreases and then resume at a more moderate pace.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time during which an expectant mom should pay extra attention to taking care of herself and her baby, and regular exercise is an important part of a healthy pregnancy.

 

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