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Working out while pregnant – should you do it?

One worry every woman has after finding out she is pregnant is about how she will lose the weight after the baby comes. Will it come off easily? Will I bounce back? Will I be this big forever? All sorts of questions run through your head when you realize that this baby is taking over your body.

So can you work out while pregnant? Should you? Are there exercise you should stay away from? Those are all good questions.

It is actually better for you and your baby if you try to exercise during pregnancy. There are certain exercises you can do if you don’t normally workout. There are exercises you can do to give you more energy when you are feeling pregnancy kick your butt.

woman doing yoga
nicepix/Shutterstock

Safest exercises

Even if you haven’t exercised since grade school gym class, you can start an exercise routine while pregnant. It will do both you and the baby good:

  • Light walking
  • Swimming
  • Stationary cycling
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Any activity where balance or coordination won’t be a factor

There are plenty of exercises you can try while pregnant. If you aren’t used to sporty activities, then go for something easy. Go for a walk. Get outside if you can. If you can’t get yourself outside, then go to an indoor area and walk around. Do laps around your mall. Just get out and walk.

If you have a membership to a pool then take advantage. How many people get to say they were a real-life submarine? Moving around in the water will also help your joints and relieve any pain brought on by the added weight.

A stationary bike is something good to have at home whether you are pregnant or not. It’s easy to hop on the bike and watch a show and it’s a quick way to get some exercise in for you and the baby.

Aerobics are always great. If you want to throw it back to those fun old videos on YouTube or do a yoga video, make sure it’s a low-impact one. There is no need to do anything over a beginner level. You aren’t training for a marathon. You are only trying to make sure you don’t run out of breath getting off of the couch.

Any other activities you did before getting pregnant are fine as long as you don’t need the best balance or coordination. You’re going to be thrown off, even if you are a few months along, by the added weight and change in your body’s shape.

Exercises to avoid

There are definitely exercises you want to avoid while pregnant or exercises you did before that you don’t want to risk doing now.

  • Physical sports of any kind
  • Any sport where falling or getting knocked down is a possibility
  • Exercising in extremely hot temperatures
  • Anything that requires you to jump a lot
  • Avoid sit-ups after the first trimester

Obviously falling is bad. But sports, where a ball could be hit or thrown at your stomach, should be avoided at all costs. Stay away from any sport or activity where jumping is required.

You shouldn’t do any exercises in hot weather. You run the risk of overheating, getting dizzy, falling, or passing out. If you can’t get inside to workout on hot days, then do the lightest activity possible.

Sit-ups when pregnant are okay in the first trimester. You don’t need to do them, but it’s fine. Any time after that, stop. You don’t need to, you really physically can’t, and you shouldn’t. You will be much more susceptible to getting dizzy due to being on your back. If you want to do any kind of abdominal exercise while pregnant, your go-to should be yoga.

woman-with-pregnancy-pillow
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you are going to work out, remember this

You already need more calories than normal because of growing a baby. If you are working out regularly, you will need even more calories than if you weren’t. Don’t forget to eat, and then eat more if you are working out.

You also need to watch where you work out. Your balance will be off, so uneven surfaces will be your worst enemy. If you are already clumsy, then consider staying inside.

Always have water. You will drink so much water anyway, but if you work out you will need even more. You do not want to be dehydrated while pregnant. Also, be careful getting up and down during any exercises. Pregnant women get the bonus of getting dizzy more with sudden movements. Yeah, fun stuff.

Remember, if for any reason, at any time, you feel chest pain, have any leaks or bleeding, have any swelling in your legs, or if anything feels wrong or off while exercising, see your doctor immediately.

Just keep moving

So should you workout while pregnant? The answer is, yes. You should try as hard as you can to get some kind of exercise every single day while you are pregnant. Again, you don’t have to do anything crazy or start any fad exercise trends. You only need to move.

Though giving birth isn’t the easiest thing you’ll do, it will be better on your body if you exercise while pregnant. Your body will have a little extra strength to help get the baby out, and recovery will be easier if your body is in better health.

If you are planning to get back to working out after your baby is born, and you’ve been consistently working out, it will be that much easier of a transition. So take it easy, drink lots of water, get up, and get moving.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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