How to Stay Active During Your Pregnancy

Physical activity does wonders for your body, mind and spirit. These benefits are especially important when you are pregnant. Staying active during pregnancy helps you feel calm, centered and tuned into your body and your baby.

There are many enjoyable ways you can safely stay fit and active during your pregnancy. Take a look, and decide what works best for you!

Exercise Benefits and Safety While Pregnant

Even if you weren’t active prior to pregnancy, it’s important that you are now. Being active during pregnancy offers the same benefits as when not pregnant, like building strength, boosting metabolism and reduced risks of disease.

Staying active when you’re pregnant also offers mothers-to-be significant pregnancy-specific benefits such as:

  • May help prevent gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and hypertension
  • Improves your sleep
  • Reduces pelvic and back pain
  • Prepares you for the physical demands of labor
  • Helps prevent urinary incontinence post-labor
  • Reduces bloating, gas and constipation
  • Improves blood flow and circulation
  • Speeds up recovery time after delivery
  • Decreases stress and anxiety

To stay safe when exercising while pregnant, remember to:

  • Check in with your doctor first before starting any activity.
  • Drink lots of water – About 25 to 50 percent more than you would drink when not pregnant.
  • Tell people you are pregnant – If you’re in a group exercise class that isn’t only for pregnant women, be sure to let the instructor know you are pregnant before starting.
  • Pass the “talk test” – Your heart rate can be elevated, but you should be able to say a full sentence before taking a deep breath. If you’re gasping for air, take a break, then reduce your workout intensity when you resume.
  • Listen to you body – If anything hurts or feels strange, stop what you’re doing right away.

Best Activities To Do While Pregnant

The best activity to do while you’re pregnant is the one that you enjoy. Don’t worry about what you think you should be doing or what type of exercise burns the most calories.

All that matters is that you move – and feel good doing that movement – for about 30 minutes every day. Here are some recommended, safe exercises to engage in over the course of your pregnancy:

  • Yoga: Yoga can be highly beneficial during pregnancy as long as it’s not a vigorous Vinyasa or heated Bikram class. The gentle movement and poses of prenatal yoga, restorative yoga and hatha yoga improve posture, breathing, strength and mindfulness.
  • Walking: Especially if you’re new to exercise, walking is a great place to start. It’s super low-impact and can be done just about anywhere and at any pace. Even a 30-minute easy stroll can have incredible benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Hiking: As long as the trails are not too challenging, hiking is an excellent way to stay fit during pregnancy. Be sure to always wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water and a healthy snack on all your outings.
  • Swimming: The weightlessness of water can feel amazing for pregnant women. Swimming reduces pain and swelling in the back and joints, and it’s also a very low-impact, safe form of cardio. Try some light freestyle or breaststroke in a warm pool to get your heart pumping.
  • Strength training: Lifting weights is the best way for women to retain bone mass, increase lean muscle and reduce body fat. Pregnant women are no exception. You’ll want to keep your arms and legs strong for carrying your new baby and grabbing all her belongings. Tricep extensions, bicep curls, lateral raises and squats can all be done well into your third trimester.
  • Pilates: Pilates is an excellent low-impact pregnancy workout too. It’s gentle, the exercises are controlled and most moves are done laying on a comfortable floor mat. Plus, pilates exercises are core-focused, which strengthens your pelvic floor and prepares you well for labor and delivery.
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