Exercising While Pregnant?Sarah Bregel
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1: Don't lie flat on your back after first trimester
Performing exercises in this position puts pressure on your vena cava (the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of the body back to the heart) and can prevent enough oxygen from getting to the fetus, especially during a workout routine. Many exercises that are normally performed from this position can either be done while standing or seated on an exercise ball or chair.
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2: Don't do a rigorous routine or program
Exercising while pregnant has amazing benefits for you and your baby, but dont push yourself too hard. If you have a high level of fitness, you may be able to avoid changing your routine in the beginning, but if you are wondering if its time to take it down a notch, it probably is.
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3: Do talk to your doctor about your plans
Check to make sure that you are taking the proper precautions to keep you and your baby safe. Also make sure it is safe to continue exercising if you are dealing with any prenatal conditions or carrying more than one baby. Some doctors recommend you do not exercise when carrying multiples.
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4: Don't hold your breath
Dont do any movements that may cause you to hold your breath, such as lifting heavy weights. Elevating your heart rate and breathing more rapidly is okay, but holding your breath or straining during movements can decrease the flow of oxygen to the fetus.
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5: Don't do exercises that stretch your body too deeply
These types of movements may put you at a greater risk of injury because of the hormone relaxin, which is released during pregnancy and makes your muscles and joints a bit more, well, relaxed (in preparation for labor). Because of your slightly more pliable state, it is easy to overdo it, so stick to static, gentle stretching to avoid injury.
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6: Don't jump or bounce
These kinds of movements may jostle the baby too much putting him or her at risk, and will probably feel unpleasant to you as well. Since relaxin relaxes certain muscles and joints during pregnancy, youre at a greater risk for joint injury. If you are an experienced runner, your body may be better prepped to avoid injury, so it is generally okay to continue running (only with the go-ahead from your doctor, of course).
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7: Don't practice inversions
Poses where you are required to be upside-down put pressure on the uterus and shunt blood flow away from the fetus, so they should be avoided altogether.
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8: Do look for prenatal exercise classes
In these types of classes you will have the opportunity to exercise with a certified fitness professional who understands all of the safety precautions that should be taken during pregnancy. If you attend a regular fitness class, always tell your instructor that you are pregnant, but keep in mind that he or she may not be certified to train with prenatal women.
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