pregnancy exercise

Pregnancy Exercise

Before, During and After

pregnancy exercise


Pregnancy Exercise

Exercise:  Before,  During,  After  Pregnancy


Any exercise program should be approved by your primary care physician.  In general, exercise is beneficial before and during pregnancy, but there may be reasons that you need to abstain from a workout regimen.  See your doctor before you begin.


Exercise before you are pregnant can give you an all-around better feeling. Exercise changes the brain chemistry and stimulates endorphins, which directly affect your mood. Combined with the blessings of better sleep and reduced stress, you just may find yourself in a good state of mind. Stressed women may have irregularities with their periods and ovulation which can reduce their chances of getting pregnant.

Exercise before and during pregnancy can help prepare you for carrying around your new baby. Carrying the baby doesn't seem that bad, but don't forget the diaper bag, the baby carrier, and other infant accessories. Infants alone can reach over 20 pounds before 8 months.

Exercise during your pregnancy can help you better withstand the rigors of labor and delivery. The process of delivery requires energy, stamina, and determination and a good exercise program can increase your readiness for this amazing journey.

Maintaining fitness during your pregnancy will prepare your body for an easier time of rebounding back to the way you want it. It also helps keep off unnecessary weight gain during your pregnancy which would only make bouncing back more difficult.

  • If you're overweight, lose weight before you start trying to get pregnant.
  • If you're underweight, it may be easier to get pregnant if you reach a healthier weight.
  • Once you start trying to get pregnant, don't try to lose weight; you could harm your baby.


Exercise before Pregnancy


What better time to look at your lifestyle
and make changes than before pregnancy

  • - Are you already physically active? Terrific! If you're not, you might want to think about a prenatal fitness program. Walking at a reasonably fast pace for 20 to 30 minutes three or more times each week will help you to develop good strength, stamina, and cardiovascular health. Before you start any exercise program, though, get your doctor's go-ahead.
  • - You can have too much of a good thing. Excessive amounts of exercise can lead to such fertility problems as irregular periods, anovulatory cycles (cycles in which ovulation does not occur), and luteal phase deficiencies (a problem that occurs when the second half of your cycle isn't long enough to allow for the proper implantation of the fertilized egg).
    The moral of the story? Stay active, but don't overdo it.
Don't forget to help Dad get healthy, too!  To improve your chances of getting pregnant, it's important for your partner to take care of himself. Exercise together, pregnancy involves both of you.


Exercise during Pregnancy

preg swimBefore beginning an exercise routine give consideration to how much you exercised before pregnancy.

This is not the time to break your previous land speed record.

Many women enjoy dancing, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, pilates, biking, or walking. Swimming is especially appealing, as it gives you welcome buoyancy (floatability or the feeling of weightlessness).
Try for a combination of cardio (aerobic), strength, and flexibility exercises, and avoid bouncing.

Start slowly. Even if you never exercised regularly before, a program can be undertaken safely. If you have been following a regular exercise regime, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to continue on the same level for the first trimester. The important thing is to listen to your body- if it feels like too much, take it down a notch. Particularly if you suffer from morning sickness, be aware of your limits.

Getting Started
Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Once you're ready to get going:
  • Start gradually. Even 5 minutes a day is a good start if you've been inactive.
    Add 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes.
  • Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes and wear a supportive bra to protect your breasts.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating and dehydration. If your exercise session is longer than 15 minutes, interrupt your workout to drink additional liquids.
    Drink even if you are not thirsty, as thirst lags behind the body's need for fluids.
  • Skip your exercises if you're sick.
  • Go for a walk in an air-conditioned mall on hot, humid days.
  • Above all, listen to your body - if it feels like too much, take it down a notch.

Avoid any contact sports now is not the time to take up downhill or water skiing, judo, ice hockey, horseback riding, or soccer and beware of any activities in which you may get hit in the stomach. Although people who take part in these sports competitively often continue well into their pregnancy. Most doctors and midwives also recommend giving up bicycling after the second trimester.

  • Kegel exercises:
Do your Kegel exercises religiously. The pelvic floor supports the bladder, uterus, and intestines. The added weight of the uterus during pregnancy can stretch out that floor, causing either the intestines or bladder to drop down. This is one of the reasons that many elderly women suffer from incontinence. Prevention is the best medicine. Kegels involve contracting and releasing the PF muscles, similarly to stopping the flow of urination. Tighten and relax the muscle several times a day.      more...

  • Walking
    One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It is safe throughout the nine months of pregnancy and can be built into your day-to-day schedule. Many experts recommend walking. It's easy to vary the pace, add hills, and add distance. If you're just starting, begin with a moderately brisk pace for a mile, 3 days a week. Add a couple of minutes every week, pick up the pace a bit, and eventually add hills to your route. Whether you're a pro or a novice, go slowly for the first 5 minutes to warm up and use the last 5 minutes to cool down.
  • Swimming Healthcare providers and fitness experts hail swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides good cardiovascular benefits, and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra weight of pregnancy.

Slow down if you can't comfortably carry on a conversation while exercising. Whatever type of exercise you and your doctor decide on, the key is to listen to your body's warnings. Many women, for example, become dizzy early in their pregnancy, and as the baby grows, their center of gravity changes. So it may be easy for you to lose your balance, especially in the last trimester.


Yoga and Pilates are rapidly becoming the "in thing" for moms-to-be and are great for your physical and mental health. Pilates exercises combine strength training with unique breathing and posture techniques, for that total-body workout, while Yoga uses stretching and breathing techniques to tone your body while calming your mind. However, not all Yoga and Pilates exercises are safe for pregnant women. Look for a prenatal Yoga or Pilates class in your area, where the classes are tailored to pregnant moms.
  • Yoga and pilates
    Yoga and stretching can help maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little if any impact on your joints. However, you may have to augment a yoga regime by walking a few times a week to give your heart a workout. Be careful not to overdo the stretching. You'll be more supple as a result of the effects of relaxin, which causes your ligaments to be more pliable.

Don't hold the stretches for too long or try to develop your flexibility too much.

Other Exercises
  • Dance
    You can get your heart pumping by dancing to your favourite tunes in the comfort and privacy of your living room, but steer clear of dance movements which call for you to leap, jump, or twirl. Remember technique is important. Avoid sudden changes of direction. If you sign up for a class, you can lose yourself in music, stay fit, and meet others.
  • Low-impact aerobics
    One good thing about an aerobics class is that it's a consistent time slot when you know you will get some exercise. If you sign up for a class specifically designed for pregnant women, you will get to enjoy the camaraderie of others just like you, and can feel reassured that each movement has been deemed safe for you and the baby.



Exercise after Pregnancy

It is possible to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and body form. A good rule of thumb is to wait about 6-8 weeks after delivery before trying to start your fitness challenge. The following are some tips and ideas on how to establish a post pregnancy fitness routine. As with any new fitness activity, you will want to consult your doctor before getting started.


Before beginning an exercise routine give consideration to how much you exercised before birth, before pregnancy, the type of birth you experienced, and your overall feel after birth! (Do remember that exercising does give you more energy in the end.)
  • Make sure you have supportive shoes, a supportive sports bra (especially you nursing moms).
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating and dehydration. If your exercise session is longer than 15 minutes, interrupt your workout to drink additional liquids.
    Drink even if you are not thirsty, as thirst lags behind the body's need for fluids.
  • Plan on a schedule of 20 - 40 minutes, 3 - 5 times a week.
  • If you combine aerobic activity with strength training, this will help boost your metabolism and speed up the weight loss process.
  • Combine diet with exercise. Talk with your physician about a good caloric intake for you and remember that if you are nursing you are going to need to add some calories.
Try to find another new mom or join a group to boost your motivation.


  • Exercise that involves baby such as walking or running with a baby stroller.
  • Exercise videos that can be done while baby is napping or in the swing.
  • Check out local health clubs to see if any offer postnatal exercise classes. Also check out to see if they have a well-staffed nursery where you would feel comfortable leaving the new baby.
  • Work out a schedule with dad or grandparent, where you have time for exercise while baby is well taken care of.

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Drink water regularly
- at least 8 glasses
of fluid a day
Exercise energy

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higher energy
Women who exercise during pregnancy may require a higher energy intake than the extra
150 to 300 calories per day recommended for non exercising women.
higher energy

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Exercise DVDs
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higher energy
Exercise may make pregnancy more comfortable, shorten labor and reduce the need for obstetric interventions.
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