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.
- 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.
- 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.