Exercise and Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Don't Get Enough Exercise
Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should try and get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily on most days and 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week during pregnancy.
A minority of women are meeting these exercise goals.
Exercise Benefits Mum, Baby
Due to deliver her first baby later this month, teacher, Nicole 29, is in this minority.
She now makes a point of exercising at least 30 minutes a day.
A jogger before becoming pregnant she now swims or takes brisk walks with her dog. Her husband, -- who competes in triathlons for fun -- keeps her motivated.
“I think it has really made a difference in how I feel,” she says “I’m not as awkward as I thought I would be by now. Sometimes I almost forget I’m pregnant.”
Studies suggest that women who exercise regularly during pregnancy have better outcomes, including lower rates of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and depression.
Moderate intensity exercise is defined as any activity that causes light sweating or a modest increase in breathing or heart rate. Vigorous exercise is defined as activity that causes heavy sweating or large increases in breathing or heart rate.
Women Exercise More in 1st Trimester
Research reveals that women engage in more moderate to vigorous exercise during their first trimester than during their third.
While more than half of surveyed women (56%) reported engaging in some type of moderate to vigorous activity within the past month, no more than one in four got as much exercise as was recommended.
Exercise Dos and Don’ts
Yoga, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobic classes are all considered safe during uncomplicated pregnancies, even for women who have not exercised regularly before becoming pregnant.
Running, racquet sports, and strength training are also OK, in moderation, for women who have regularly engaged in them before pregnancy.
Activities that are not recommended include downhill snow skiing, contact sports, and scuba diving.
Women who have not exercised regularly before becoming pregnant should start slowly and build up to the recommended 30-minute a day minimum.
Other recommendations include:
- Talk to you doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather or when you have a fever.
- Wear comfortable clothing and a bra that fits well and gives lots of support.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Stop exercising if you experience vaginal bleeding, dizziness, chest pain, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, uterine contractions, decreased fetal movement, or fluid leaking from the vagina.