For today’s post I am going to my “mailbag” and answering a question from one of my readers! The question for today is all about exercising during pregnancy!
My mother and aunt told me to stop exercising now that I am pregnant because pregnant women are supposed to take it easy and shouldn’t exercise, but my doctor recommended that I keep active. So, is it okay to exercise during pregnancy?
~ Melanie C, Michigan.
This is a very common question that I get. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, doctors told pregnant women they should walk no more than 1 mile per day and to rest for the duration of the pregnancy. I think I would go crazy being expected to sit around all day for 9 months! Doctors at that time were concerned that exercise caused birth defects and miscarriages but research has since contradicted this. Since the 1960s there has been hundreds of research studies conducted that have shown the many benefits exercise has for the pregnant woman. Thankfully we are no longer expected to lie in bed for 9 months and are able to still engage in many of the activities that we could do pre-pregnancy.
There numerous benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:
- Decrease in pain during contractions
- Decrease in pregnancy discomfort
- 75% less chance of C-Section due to complications
- 35% less need for pain medications during labor
- 55% less need for pitocin
- 75% less chance of maternal exhaustion during labor
- Decrease time in labor
- Decrease mom’s risk of complications
- Improve sleep
- Improve energy level
- Decrease stress
- Decrease risk of postpartum depression
- Increase healthy baby development during pregnancy
- Improve nutrient delivery and removal of toxins to and from baby
- Improve post pregnancy recovery
- And many more!
I have to issue a word of caution. It is still crucial to get clearance from your doctor or midwife before exercising to make sure your pregnancy is healthy enough for exercise.
When you do get the “all clear” from your doctor or midwife, be sure to exercise in a well ventilated room and to stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink a cup (8oz) of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Oh, it might be smart to workout in a gym, your home, or in a park where you are always close to a bathroom.
There are so many great benefits of exercise during pregnancy that you are probably ready to just get out there and get moving! These benefits are great motivating factors; that’s for sure! However, it is very important that you don’t exercise during pregnancy and talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any of the following conditions:
- Ruptured membranes
- Premature labor
- Persisitent bleeding after 12 weeks
- Poor fetal growth
- Multiple-birth pregnancy
- A history of 3 or more miscarriages
- A history of preterm labor
- Dilated cervix
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
Finally, when you do start exercising while you are pregnant, you must watch for these danger signs and seek your healthcare provider if any of these develop:
- Excessive fatigue
- Increase in leg swelling
- Muscle weakness
- Vaginal bleeding/leaking of amniotic fluid
- You can’t feel your baby moving
In summary, you can exercise during pregnancy and there are a ton of benefits to exercising during this special time. However, it is more important than ever to have the permission of your doctor or midwife and that you listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience any discomforts. Enjoy the special time of your pregnancy!
- Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about these benefits, if you are going to exercise during pregnancy, and what type of exercising you will be doing during pregnancy.
- Share this post with your girlfriends JGet Clearance from your doctor or midwife to exercise and start working with a personal trainer who is certified in pre/postnatal exercise.
- Enjoy your healthy and fit pregnancy!
- Any questions? Contact me! by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. If you have a question about fitness, nutrition, healthy living in pregnancy and in life, send your question to Amber.