Staying physically active during pregnancy is just as important as the food you choose to put into your body. Although some women fear exercising may cause harm to their baby, there is no real evidence linking exercise to miscarriage. According to Bruce K. Young, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine, heavy exercise will tire you more quickly than before pregnancy, but it will not cause harm to your baby. While there is no precise way to measure the limits a woman should put on exercise during pregnancy, a target heart rate of 140 is typically a universally accepted number to shoot for.
1) Consult a physician – Before beginning any exercise routine, pregnant women should always consult with their doctor. A doctor can point you towards the best exercise program and give you specific recommendations based on your personal health history and physical fitness level.
2) Stretch liberally – The hormones released during pregnancy cause all ligaments and joints to loosen, thereby making it easier to pull or strain something. It is even more important to adequately stretch before and after a workout during pregnancy.
3) Avoid contact activities – It is always best to avoid contact sports and activities that could cause you or the baby physical harm. With the changes brought on by pregnancy hormones, certain activities that may have once been a source of enjoyment may now prove difficult to accomplish, especially those requiring balance such as skiing or riding a bike. It is safer to avoid such activities than try to force your body to do something it is not comfortable with.
4) Hydrate – Replenishing fluids and rehydrating both during and after a physical activity has never been so important. With a baby constantly drawing away nutrients from your system, your body will quickly run low and become dehydrated faster than normal, which if left untreated could cause serious harm to you and the baby.
5) Listen to your body – Through the course of your pregnancy, you will not only put on more weight and feel the effects of increased hormones, but your center of gravity will change, ligaments and joints loosen, and depending on the trimester, you could feel significantly more fatigued. As you begin exercising or even continue with a familiar routine, stop when you feel your body is being pushed too far. If you experience shortness of breath, rapid heart rate or excessive sweating you are most likely pushing yourself too hard.