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Is Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?

There’s no simple answer to the question about safely exercising during pregnancy. That’s why it’s important that you rely on the guidance of Sowmya Reddy, MD, FACOG, and our obstetrics team at Alpha OB GYN.

Dr. Reddy works with you on an individual basis through all stages of your pregnancy to ensure you’re doing what’s best for you and your developing baby. Here, she provides some insight into the different factors that play a role in the decisions about which exercises are safe during pregnancy.

Exercise and pregnancy benefits

In general, exercise is important for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Regular exercise keeps your blood circulating, your head clear, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise can also alleviate or prevent side effects of pregnancy, such as back pain and constipation.

When you’re pregnant, you should still continue to exercise but consult with Dr. Reddy about what exercises are good for you and if there are any physical activities you need to avoid.

If you’re otherwise healthy and your pregnancy isn’t considered high risk, you can expect to continue exercising as you usually do. However, you shouldn’t start any new exercise programs before consulting with our team.

High-risk pregnancy and exercise cautions

A high-risk pregnancy describes one where there are existing health issues with the expectant mother or the fetus that could cause complications during pregnancy or delivery. Common reasons for classifying a high-risk pregnancy include:

In these circumstances, Dr. Reddy may recommend very gentle exercises like walking short distances to stay active without overexerting yourself.

However, there are some cases where physical activity should be avoided throughout a pregnancy. For very high-risk women, it may be necessary to go on bedrest to prevent preterm labor and other issues.

Tips for exercising safely while pregnant

When you are physically active during your pregnancy, remember to avoid dehydration by drinking lots of water before, during, and afterward.

Other tips for safe exercise include:

Stay cool

During exercise, try to keep yourself cool by wearing loose-fitting clothing, drinking water, and avoiding outdoor activities when it’s hot.

This prevents overheating that can complicate your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester when your risk for miscarriage is higher.

Keep moving

Standing for long periods of time can increase the likelihood that blood and fluids will pool in your legs and feet, causing swelling and discomfort.

You should also limit exercises that require you to lie on your back for a long period of time. In this position, your growing uterus presses on the vein that brings blood back to your heart, which can affect your blood pressure and your heart health.

Focus on pregnancy exercises

If you weren’t very active before becoming pregnant, you should start out slowly with safe pregnancy exercises.

In addition to walking, you can also participate in yoga classes, especially those designed for expectant mothers.  Working out in a pool is a great way to stay active without putting too much stress on your body.

Invest in a good bra

Protecting your breasts is something important you must consider when exercising. Purchase a supportive sports bra that reduces your risk for breast discomfort and injuries during physical activity.

If you have questions or concerns about exercising during your pregnancy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Reddy and our obstetrics team online or by calling the Alpha OB GYN office today.

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