Pregnancy: Finding the Right Exercise

Food for Thought

Don't wait to get thirsty: keep a water bottle close by and drink before, during, and after your workouts to ensure that you and your baby are adequately hydrated.

When it comes to selecting the type of exercise, every woman is different. One woman might be perfectly okay with modifying her usual sport (for instance, a runner might continue to jog at a slower pace), but other women are uncomfortable with the jarring and jolting on the joints—especially in the last trimester, when weight begins to climb. Think about switching to gentler activities, such as walking instead of running, swimming instead of high-impact aerobics, or pedaling on a stationary bike.

Take a Walk with Your Baby

Some of the great things about walking include that there's no crashing impact, you can select your own pace and distance, you get quality “think time” (a precious commodity after the baby arrives), and you can do it just about anywhere. For some fresh air, go for a trek around the neighborhood or hit a scenic trail. If the weather doesn't suit you, try a treadmill or wander about your local shopping mall. Anything goes; just remember these key points:


Reduce your risk for injury by avoiding activities that require a lot of balance and coordination because as your body shifts, so does your center of gravity due to your enlarged belly, breasts, and uterus. Back off from things that might land you on the ground: skiing, horseback riding, biking, and skating. Avoid sports that involve sharp, jerky movements such as swinging a tennis racket, volleyball, bowling, and so on.

  • You need to keep a strong, upright posture; lead with your chest.
  • Rhythmically move your arms forward and back from the shoulders. Do not swing them higher than your chest or across your midline.
  • Do not walk outdoors when the ground is icy. Remember, your balance is not as keen as it used to be.
  • Don't try to conquer steep hills that can send your heart rate soaring or place a lot of stress on your back.
  • Do not walk in steamy, hot, or humid weather.
  • Keep your body and baby well hydrated. Drink before, during, and after your walk.
  • Eat a snack before you start your walk to prevent a drop in your blood sugar.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good support. Some women's feet swell during pregnancy, so you might need shoes or sneaks at least one half size bigger.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. On cold days, wear layers that can be shed and tied around your waist as you heat up.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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