If you have been following a regular exercise program prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to maintain that program to some degree throughout your pregnancy. Exercise does not increase the risk of miscarriage in a normal low-risk pregnancy. The important thing is to discuss these pregnancy exercise guidelines with your health care provider and set up the right routine for you.
Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines
- If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to overexert yourself. Consider a prenatal yoga class that is specifically designed for pregnant women. Shop Prenatal Yoga for Home Use
- Listen to your body. Your body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise you are performing.
- Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen they need.
- Wear comfortable exercise footwear that gives strong ankle and arch support.
- Take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
- Avoid exercising in extremely hot weather.
- Avoid rocky terrain or unstable ground when running or cycling. Your joints are laxer in pregnancy, so ankle sprains and other injuries may occur.
- Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Weight training should emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area. Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the lower back muscles.
- During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to the uterus.
- Include relaxation and stretching before and after your exercise program.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.
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Compiled using information from the following sources:
Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 5.
American Academy of Family Physicians, https://familydoctor.org/