Women who become pregnant often wonder what types of exercise can be done throughout their pregnancy. While most women will receive recommendations from their physicians to exercise most days of the week, there are some women for which exercise is actually not an acceptable activity. The only way to know for sure if exercise is right for you during your pregnancy is to discuss this with your OB/GYN during your prenatal appointments.
Should I exercise during pregnancy?
Most physicians will suggest that some exercise is actually necessary to maintain adequate health when pregnant. Healthy pregnant women should exercise for at least thirty minutes a day for five days a week. The type of exercise should be safe enough to not put the mother or baby in danger, so contact sports should be done after delivery.
What exercises are good for pregnancy?
Non-impact exercises like walking or swimming are excellent choices for pregnant women. Other activities that will serve pregnant women well are low-impact aerobics like step aerobics or Zumba, yoga, and water aerobics. Any activity that a woman enjoys doing that is considered safe by her health care provider is a possible activity for exercise.
Miscarriage and exercise
There are many studies available for reference concerning the benefits of exercise in women who are pregnant. There are also a few studies that have been published that show that exercise may not be advised in early pregnancy. In these latter studies, women who participated in leisure activities and high impact exercise reported more miscarriages than those that did not exercise with these types of activities. The report specifically found that those women who participated in high-impact sports in the first trimester were more at risk of miscarriage. As pregnancies reached the second and third trimesters, the risk of miscarriage fell.
Does exercise cause miscarriages?
The short answer is simply, “No,” but this seems to contradict the information found in the previously mentioned study. Possible explanations for the results of that study could point to the high frequency of miscarriages that naturally occur within the population. According to Cigna, a health insurance provider, the chances of having a miscarriage during any one pregnancy is as much as one out of six, with most of these happening in the first trimester. It is possible that the information obtained from the above study actually is biased by the natural risk of miscarrying during the first trimester.
When should I not exercise?
There are certain conditions during pregnancy when exercise will not be advised. If you have the following conditions, you will need to get clearance from your health care provider before beginning or continuing your exercise routine:
- Vaginal bleeding
- High blood pressure
- Calf pain
- Premature rupture of membranes (PROM)
- History of preterm labor
Why do I need prenatal care?
Even the healthiest women can benefit from prenatal care. Especially when considering an exercise program, a health care provider can monitor your pregnancy to look for signs that exercising may actually be more dangerous than beneficial. There are certain symptoms that suggest that exercise could be potentially dangerous such as:
- Chest pain
- Leg edema
How will I know if exercise is right for me?
Only a physician or other licensed health care provider that has advanced training in obstetrics will be able to advise for or against exercise. Schedule a prenatal appointment between eight to ten weeks of pregnancy to ensure that you are strong and healthy enough for a physical fitness routine.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a licensed health professional. Choosing the best method for controlling pregnancy weight gain is a decision that you and your doctor can discuss together. Any reader who is concerned about this issue should contact a doctor for advice.