Regular exercise is essential for optimal wellness. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most adults get 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.
But if you’re pregnant, you might wonder if exercising is such a good idea. Maybe you’re nauseous from morning sickness, or maybe pregnancy has left you feeling exhausted and achy all the time.
Working out may sound like the last thing you want to do, so you might be surprised to learn that it could actually make you feel better — during pregnancy, labor, and even during the postpartum period.
As an experienced obstetrician, A. Michael Coppa, MD, has helped countless women stay active and healthy during pregnancy. If you’re curious about working out while you’re waiting for your baby’s arrival, here are a few tips.
Make a habit of working out
Most women who are generally healthy and who have low-risk pregnancies can work out safely during pregnancy. If you were active before getting pregnant, you may be able to continue your usual routine over the next nine months.
Regular exercise while you’re pregnant can help you avoid symptoms like back pain and constipation. It promotes healthy weight gain, and it may make it easier to lose extra weight once your baby is born.
Before starting to work out during pregnancy, talk to your prenatal care team. Dr. Coppa can review your health and any risks you may have to determine which activities are safe during your pregnancy.
Choose low-impact exercise
When it comes to pregnancy-safe workouts, there are a lot of activities from which you can choose. Dr. Coppa often recommends exercises such as:
- Prenatal Pilates
- Prenatal yoga
- Stationary bicycling
- Water aerobics
- Walking (or running, if you ran before pregnancy)
It’s generally safe to participate in exercise during pregnancy, but avoid activities that put you or your baby at risk. Don’t participate in workouts or sports that involve excessive jumping or bouncing or that put you at risk of high-impact collision or falls.
Know when to take a break
Learn to listen to your body while you’re working out, so you can recognize when it’s time to take a break. Even if you were physically fit before getting pregnant, your body is under more stress during pregnancy, and you may not be able to do everything you did before.
Signs that you should stop exercising include:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Uterine contractions
- Vaginal bleeding or discharge
Avoid overheating while you work out and don’t push yourself too hard. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after workouts. Wear loose-fitting clothing and work out in cool or temperature-controlled rooms.
Stay in touch with your doctor
Whether you want to work out or not, prenatal care is an important part of your health care during pregnancy. Regular prenatal appointments ensure you and your baby are as healthy as possible, and Dr. Coppa is available to answer any questions you may have.
We can recommend pregnancy-safe exercises or help you modify your favorite activities as your pregnancy progresses. We work with you to make sure you gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy, and we can offer tips on nutrition and other lifestyle changes to prepare you for a healthy labor and delivery.
Exercising while you’re pregnant can help you adjust to your changing body and help you feel better. Learn more by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Coppa today at one of our locations in Providence, Cranston, or Smithfield, Rhode Island.