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Do’s and Don'ts of Exercise During Pregnancy

You know that exercise promotes good health. It strengthens your heart, reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, and helps with weight control. But if you’re pregnant, you may be asking yourself whether you should engage in fitness activities.  

The answer to that question is usually “yes.” Most healthy women having an uncomplicated pregnancy can exercise safely during most or all of their pregnancy.

But when it comes to exercising while you’re expecting, there are a few important things to know about making good choices for yourself and your baby. 

At Westover Hills Women’s Health , our board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, explains some useful do’s and don’ts of exercising during pregnancy.

Do talk with your provider

Although exercise can provide many benefits for pregnant women, you should always check with Dr. Al-Hakeem or your midwife before exercising to make sure it is safe for you.

Women with certain health conditions or pregnancy complications are usually advised not to exercise or to limit their activity. For example, exercise is usually not recommended for women with placenta previa (where the placenta covers all or part of the cervix), preeclampsia (high blood pressure related to pregnancy), or an elevated risk of preterm birth.

Do think about the benefits of exercising

You may not necessarily feel like being active while you’re pregnant. But consider this: Exercise can help reduce the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications, such as gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes associated with pregnancy. 

Exercise also helps you from gaining too much pregnancy weight. And activity can ease some annoying pregnancy-related discomforts, such as constipation, low back pain, and minor swelling.

Don’t overdo it

Assuming we tell you it’s safe for you to exercise, aim for about 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Good activities include:

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to avoid becoming dehydrated.

If you jogged or ran before getting pregnant, we may give you the OK to continue with these activities while you are expecting.

As you exercise, avoid activities that require you to lie flat on your back. Doing so can cause your uterus to press on a major blood vessel, which isn’t good for you.

Do be aware of your changing body

Being pregnant changes your center of gravity and can make you a bit less steady on your feet than you were before you got pregnant. Your balance may shift and you may be more likely to fall. You may also become out of breath or tired more quickly than before.  

Don’t do these activities

Some types of activities are too risky because they could injure your baby. These include:

We will let you know if there are any other activities you should avoid.

Do watch for warning signs

Stop exercising and call us if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Do remember: We’re always here for you

You can count on Dr. Al-Hakeem and our team at Westover Hills Women’s Health to take good care of you during your pregnancy. We invite you to schedule an appointment at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices by calling us today or using our online tool.

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