Staying active during your pregnancy actually has a great many advantages. While you never want to over exert yourself, staying active during your pregnancy is beneficial to you and your baby.
Not so long ago, when a woman was pregnant, she wasn't supposed to do anything too physical or exerting, and certainly not exercise! Today we know that exercise is not only good for mom and baby, but you are encouraged to start an exercise program if you are healthy and fit – as long as there is not a medical reason not to do so. If you haven't been used to a regular exercise regimen, it is not too late to start now! Regular physical activity has many benefits including making it easier to carry the added weight, with easier and shorter labor, which benefits both mom and baby.
If you weren't exercising already, start slowly with ten-minute increments to build up your strength and endurance. Aerobic activities such as walking, swimming or dancing will get you started. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after, and take a break if you feel uncomfortable or short of breath. In short – listen to your body. If you already have an exercise regimen that you are used to, there is no reason not to continue. There are so many benefits to exercising during pregnancy since it promotes strength, muscle tone, and endurance – it will also help you get back in shape faster after the birth of the baby.
Working up a Sweat
While walking is a good way to start, getting into a little running won't hurt if you are up to it. It feels good to sweat and it is a fast workout. If you love to run, do it, but listen to your body and if outdoor conditions get in the way, use a treadmill. Incorporate your running and walking into your daily errands whenever possible.
Biking & Swimming
Biking, whether through the countryside or on a stationary bike, is a great way to get the heart rate up and you can do it while seated instead of having to carry your belly around! You can dance at home or join a dance class, but it is a first class way to stay active and fit. If you have access to a pool, swimming is wonderful for the body and it lifts the spirits as you lap weightlessly around the pool.
Emotional & Physical Benefits
While these are all good ways to keep fit, and you can do any of these with or without a gym membership, it is the emotional and physical benefits that should be your greatest inspiration. Exercise helps you deal better with the aches and pains of pregnancy, stretches help ease back pain, walking increases your circulation, and burning off all that excess energy may help you get a better night's sleep.
Talk With Your Doctor
As with anything else, there are do's and don'ts. Do exercise if you are physically able, to improve your physical and emotional well-being. Don't overdo or over exert yourself! Don't risk falling such as while horseback riding or bike riding outside, avoid contact sports and avoid exercising on hot, humid days where you run the risk of overheating – the same reason to avoid hot tubs or saunas. Follow your doctor's recommendations, listen to your body, and always use common sense.