Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercise can pay big dividends for women who are pregnant

Pregnant 1

Exercise plays a vital role in long-term health. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can help men, women and children lower their risk for injury and potentially debilitating diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

“Exercise can even pay dividends for women who are pregnant,” says Ashley Draper, of Jada Blitz Training. Draper, who is expecting, says the benefits to breaking a sweat during pregnancy, are significant.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising while pregnant can help women alleviate some of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Many pregnant women feel pain in their backs and ankles, but exercise can ease or even prevent these pains, improving women’s mood and helping them sleep better. Exercising while pregnant also helps keep weight off, making it easier to return to normal weight after giving birth. Still, Draper recognizes the importance of checking with your physician regarding exercise during pregnancy, and cautions women to not overdo it, offering the following tips that have helped her:

  • Make a daily effort. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says pregnant women should strive for a goal of moderate-intensity exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes per day on most days. This schedule should be adjusted as necessary should any complications arise, making adjustments after discussing any complications with their physician. Also, women who were sedentary prior to getting pregnant should slowly build up their exercise tolerance just like they would if they were not pregnant but wanted to become more physically active.
  • Choose safe activities. While it’s important for pregnant women to remain physically active, certain exercises are safer than others, such as walking, swimming, stationary cycling, yoga, modified pilates, and even strength training for women who engaged in these activities prior to becoming pregnant. The ACOG cautions against hot yoga, as well as sports and activities that carry a high risk of falling, such as basketball, downhill skiing, gymnastics and off-road cycling.
  • Employ the buddy system. Should pregnant women experience any adverse side effects while exercising, it is helpful if spotters or a buddy is present during strength training. walks or jogs. Women can go one step further by keeping their mobile phones with them at all times, including their obstetrician’s contact information on their phones so anyone who needs to contact the physician can do so quickly.
  • Know the warning signs that something might be amiss. Pregnant women to should recognize warning signs, discontinue exercise immediately and consult their physicians if they experience vaginal bleeding, amniotic fluid leakage, labored breathing before exertion, dizziness, headache, chest pan, muscle weakness affecting balance, calf pain or swelling, or regular painful contractions.

More information about exercising while pregnant can be found at www.acog.org.

WNY Resource:
Jada Blitz Training is located at 4685 Transit Road in Williamsville. Memberships start at $19.99 per month. Learn more at www.jadablitz.com or call 716.568.9057.