UNC Health Care

Exercise for Moms-to-be

Jeanie StaskoJeanie Stasko is a Health Educator for Rex Wellness Centers who blogs about fitness, exercise & overall healthy lifestyle topics.

It can be tough to know what’s safe when it comes to exercising during pregnancy: some women are combining pregnancy and marathon training while others are being put on bed rest. It really comes down to what types of exercise you were participating in prior to pregnancy, while monitoring yourself and adapting as necessary.

pregnant woman exercising
Check with your Doctor to se if you can exercise, and what you can do

First, it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to exercise. Most docs want you to exercise but above all else they want Mom and Baby to be safe. Ask your doctor for some precautionary guidelines regarding contractions and what to look for in the case of pre-term labor.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes later in your pregnancy, know that it will have an impact on your workout regimen and it’s time to re-open the exercise conversation.

Next up, stay hydrated! During pregnancy, hydration is so very important. It will help you to reduce heat and keep your blood volume at a normal level.

It’s also important to recognize that each pregnancy is different. With my first pregnancy I could do far more than I can with my current pregnancy. And that’s okay! I spend more time in the pool rather than trekking it on a trail with the summer heat and humidity.

pregnant woman doing yoga on the lawn
Stretching and yoga are low impact activities while expecting

If you were exercising before pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue the same exercise program while you are expecting. As your pregnancy progresses you will need to modify your routine to exclude positions like lying face up or down. If you’re feeling a little winded sooner than usual, slow it down. Just remember that your blood volume has significantly increased and it’s important to monitor your intensity.

If you’re feeling over-fatigued, it’s time to decrease your intensity and/or duration, especially in the latter part of your pregnancy – you’ve got to save some energy for your new bundle of joy!

pregnant woman swimming
Try walking and/or swimming if if you have not exercised lately–seek Doctors approves,

If you weren’t exercising regularly pre-pregnancy, you can still participate in low-impact activities like walking or swimming with the approval of your doctor. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the pool is for the expecting mama. It’s amazing how you can feel weightless at a time when you feel the heaviest! If the pool is not your thing, try Prenatal Yoga. Low-impact activities will allow you to reap the rewards of exercising during pregnancy while avoiding strain or injury.

Research shows that women who exercise recover faster postpartum than those who did not. And who doesn’t want to recover faster? Not to mention moms feel better both physically and emotionally and even sleep better!

For more information on swimming or pre-natal yoga programs, visit one of Rex’s five wellness centers located throughout Wake County. Sign up here for the free Rex Pregnancy Newsletter!