Exercising During Pregnancy: What Expectant Mothers Need to Know

There are many side effects that can accompany pregnancy: fatigue, depression, mood swings, various aches and pains, and more. What if we told you that one simple activity could counteract these symptoms? It’s true. Exercising regularly during pregnancy benefits expectant mothers throughout the pregnancy process and for years to come.

Though beneficial, exercise for pregnant women remains shrouded in mystery and misinformation, leaving expectant mothers to wonder if it is safe for them to work out or if they have to drastically alter their workouts to accommodate pregnancy.

Exercising during pregnancy is simpler than you think.

Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy workouts

Stick to what’s familiar

For many women, pregnancy is the first time they’re told to gain weight. Seeing the number on the scale rise can cause negative feelings, which leads some expectant moms to change their workout routines to feel more in control of the weight distribution. Exercise is an all-around good thing for pregnant women, but it’s not the time to try a new workout routine or try to get to the next level of fitness. Stay in your comfort zone during the pregnancy to reduce the risk of injury. You can save the latest workout trend for after you give birth.

Safety first

The goal of exercise for pregnant women is to find and experience the benefits of exercise while minimizing the risks to your developing child. Avoid workouts that require large amounts of balance or contact. The last thing you want is a major fall. Say no to activities like skiing or workouts that involve a lot of coordination while you’re pregnant. You can plan an amazing post-pregnancy trip filled with extreme sports.

Slow down

You will find that your abilities change throughout pregnancy. That is not at all related to your level of fitness. You’re growing a baby, and that will affect most aspects of your life. Slowing down workouts can be challenging, especially for competitive women. However, it’s necessary. You should be able to have a conversation during pregnancy workouts. Anything more intense than that could have negative impact on your health and the health of your baby.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water is important at any stage of life, but it is especially important during pregnancy.

Take special care to hydrate. This means drinking water before your workout, while you’re working out, and after your workout. That sounds like a lot of water, and potentially multiple trips to the bathroom. It’s worth it.

Exercising During Pregnancy: What Expectant Mothers Need to Know

“Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor,” according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Keep your water intake up. It’s okay to pause your workout for a bathroom break.

Low impact

Joint pain is common in pregnant women. If you’re experiencing this symptom, opt for lower impact workouts that will be easier on your joints. This means avoiding exercises that involve a lot of jumping or running. Consider swimming or joining a low impact aerobics class as an alternative.

Be body conscious

When exercising during pregnancy, it’s especially important to listen to your body. Our capabilities change daily, even outside of pregnancy. Make self-awareness a priority. Stop doing any movement that doesn’t feel right in the moment. If you’re in a class, ask your teacher to provide an alternative movement. If you’re working out alone, take a short break. You may need to end your workout early, or you may be able to continue with a different exercise.

Eat well

Exercise burns calories, and pregnancy requires you to slightly increase your caloric intake in the later trimesters. Be sure that you’re getting enough to eat. Load up on nutrient-rich foods that will energize your workouts and support the development of your child. Pair a protein with a produce for a healthy pregnancy snack.

Now you know how to safely exercise during pregnancy. Not sure what  to try? These pregnancy workouts are favorites of expectant mothers:

  • Pre-natal Yoga – The slower pace of this class will relax your mind while still challenging your body. The flow will avoid any poses that expectant mothers should avoid. If you’re ever in doubt, meet in child’s pose.
  • Elliptical – Get your heart rate up with this low impact exercise. Vary your workout using the pre-programmed options on the machine. Just make sure you don’t push too hard.
  • Swimming – This is one of the safest and most effective options for exercising during pregnancy. It offers a full body workout with minimal impact on the joints.
  • Spinning – Spin classes are a low impact form of cardio that you can enjoy in a class or by yourself. Remember that you control the intensity. Only work as hard as your body can handle in the moment.

Did you exercise regularly during pregnancy? What tips do you have for other expectant moms? Share your experience in the comments below.