“Healthy women should get at least two and one half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week during pregnancy and the time after delivery, preferably spread through the week. Pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous aerobic activity or who are highly active can continue during pregnancy and the time after delivery, provided they remain healthy and discuss with their health care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.”
Some Benefits of Exercise:
- Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
- May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
- Increases your energy
- Improves your mood
- Improves your posture
- Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
- Helps you sleep better
- May decrease labor time and difficulty of labor
Sanctioned Guidelines for Exercising During Pregnancy for Otherwise Healthy Women (Found in Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James Clapp M.D.)
- Regular, moderate intensity and duration exercise sessions are preferable.
- Recommended exercises include stretching, stationary cycling, swimming, and walking. Other types are either contraindicated (not recommended) or require modification.
- Avoid jerky, bouncy, and wide range of motion movements and exercises that involve straining, jumping, or sudden changes in direction.
- Don’t exercise lying on the back after the fourth month.
- Five-minute periods of warm-up and cool-down stretching are recommended, but don’t stretch to the point of maximal resistance.
- Women with sedentary lifestyles should begin with short-duration, low-intensity activity and increase gradually.
- Stop exercise when unusually fatigued; stop and consult a physician if any unusual symptoms occur. i.e.: Vaginal bleeding, dizziness or feeling faint, increased shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain or swelling, uterine contractions, decreased fetal movement, or fluid leaking from the vagina.
- Increase caloric intake to cover the demands of the exercise and take fluids liberally before, during and after exercise.
- Avoid environments with excessive heat and humidity when you exercise.
Pregnancy is a special time for the mother to take extra care of herself, not just for her but now for the new addition as well. Exercise is an essential part of being healthy. Remember an essential rule when in doubt of an exercise: Use your gut instinct to judge and it usually won’t lead you astray. Be smart but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself or add a little excitement into your exercise routine.
If you have any special conditions or concerns please communicate with your doctor to find the best choice for you and your baby. Happy exercising! :)
Here are some video clips of sample exercises you can do when you're pregnant (or not so pregnant). Do each activity for one minute, then switch to another, then switch back.
PLEASE NOTE: Our model, Chelsy, is very fit. She was doing a high level of exercise before her pregnancy and so can continue at a higher rate during her pregnancy. Slow down and moderate these exercises to suit your level!
FOOTBALL FEET: Imagine you are stepping into tires in an obstacle course.
BICEPS CURLS: Use an elastic exercise band or hand weights. If using the exercise band, put one or two feet into the band to adjust the difficulty level.
PLIE SQUATS: These are done with the feet pointing out as in a ballet plie, but all delusions of gracefulness end there! Your weight goes on your heels, not your toes. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes when you squat down (this puts a strain on your knees and will hurt them). Stick your bum out like you're sitting in a chair. (You can also vary these squats by putting your feet closer together or further apart, and by having your feet pointing straight ahead.) Involve your arms by holding them in front when you squat and swinging them back as you come up.
STAIRS: All you need is one step! If you need to hold on for balance, don't put any weight in your arms. Try to keep all the work in your legs. Go as fast as you can or as slow as you need to. After 30 seconds, or halfway through the set, change which foot steps up and which one steps down.
TRICEPS: Again using an exercise band or weights, hold your arms above your head, elbows close to your head. Bend and extend your arms against the resistance of the weights or the band. Try to hold your upper arms still with only your forearms moving. Place one or two feet in the middle of the exercise band, or if that's too much resistance, put one foot on one end of the band and hold onto the other end with both hands.
Thanks to Chelsy Hooper (Hilltop Ward) for putting together this post!!