Exercise

Exercise is good for you and your baby

Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you and your baby stay healthy. It can also decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we firmly believe that not only will exercising during your pregnancy help you feel better, it can help relieve stress, build the stamina you’ll need for labor and delivery, and may even prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy).

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation

If you haven’t exercised regularly before, you can still follow an exercise program while you’re pregnant after consulting with your doctor. You shouldn’t start a new, strenuous activity, but walking is considered safe to do when pregnant.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day while pregnant, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication (asthma, heart disease, diabetes, low placenta, history of miscarriage or early labor, weak cervix).

Inform your trainer/exercise instructor

Before working out (each time!), be sure to let your trainer or exercise instructor know you’re pregnant so that he/she can adjust the program and moves/positions accordingly.

Safe exercises you can do up until delivery

Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it. The safest and most productive activities are:

  • swimming
  • brisk walking
  • yoga indoor stationary cycling
  • step or elliptical machines
  • low-impact aerobics (taught by a certified aerobics instructor)
  • jogging (in moderation, especially if you were doing this before your pregnancy)
  • strength and toning exercises, such as Pilates

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

There are certain exercises and activities that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy, including:

  • holding your breath during any activity
  • sports where falling is likely (such as skiing or horseback riding)
  • contact sports such as softball, football, basketball and volleyball
  • any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma, jarring motions or rapid changes in direction
  • activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing or running
  • deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches
  • bouncing while stretching
  • waist-twisting movements while standing
  • heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity
  • exercising in hot, humid weather