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Exercising Safely While Pregnant:The Do's and Don'ts

In This Article:

Eating for exercise and do's and don'ts

Pregnant woman drinking water

Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.

A nutritious, balanced diet is vital in pregnancy. If you're exercising too, eating well to keep energy levels balanced is doubly important. Eat regular, nutritious meals, ensuring that your calories come from wholesome, fresh foods, and avoid high-calorie sugary snacks.

Do's and don'ts

Exercise is safe in pregnancy as long as you follow the simple guidelines listed below. As your pregnancy progresses, you will probably need to adapt and moderate your exercise program.

Do:

  • Warm up and cool down properly.
  • Drink enough water before, during, and after exercising.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that don't restrict your rib cage.
  • Exercise regularly and consistently.
  • Adjust your expectations; pregnancy is not a time to go for personal bests.
  • Build your strength, but do this gradually. Focus on your back, shoulders, chest, and lower body.
  • Practice Kegel exercises (see Start squeezing!) daily to maintain the pelvic floor tone.
  • Breathe properly while exercising, especially when lifting weights.
  • Protect your back when getting up from a lying position: roll onto your left side and sit up using your legs.
  • Avoid exercises that feel awkward or uncomfortable.
  • Focus on posture and alignment.
  • Stop immediately and seek advice if you feel severe localized pain, vaginal bleeding, or general unwellness.
  • Eat frequent small meals and snacks to maintain energy and avoid having your blood sugar levels fall.

Don't:

  • Exercise in a hot or humid environment.
  • Do jerky or bouncy moves or twist or rotate your abdomen.
  • Lift weights that are too heavy.
  • Do sports where you risk falling, such as skiing or horseback riding.
  • Overstretch: the pregnancy hormone relaxin can make you feel more supple than you are.
  • Exercise to exhaustion. If you're tired, decrease the intensity or duration. Get an hour's rest for each hour of exercise.


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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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