Safe Exercise in Early Pregnancy

Safe Exercise in Early Pregnancy

When you’ve run the fertility treatment gauntlet, and are rewarded with the wonderful news you’re pregnant, it’s a reality shifter. Now, your life changes from revolving around fertility appointments and hormone shots to keeping that newly conceived baby safe and sound.

That can make some women almost phobic to take part in “the real world,” and that includes participating in their regularly scheduled activities – like exercise.

However, unless your doctor stated otherwise, safe pregnancy exercises are beneficial to your wellbeing – and your baby’s. Beyond that, most women find exercise reduces morning sickness, benefits healthy sleep patterns and reduces fatigue – all goals worth striving for.

Tenets of Exercise During Early Pregnancy & Beyond

Here are some of the general tenets around safe exercises when you’re freshly pregnant:

  • Activity level should not exceed your pre-pregnancy levels. So, if you weren’t a runner before, this isn’t a good time to take it up. Jogging is okay, but don’t push yourself.
  • Look for exercises that are considered “low-impact”
  • Avoid exercises that can result in falls or blunt force to the abdomen
  • Speak with your doctor about your exercise plan

If you are an athlete or you exercise regularly and vigorously, consider consulting with your trainer to start de-escalating your workouts, modifying what you love to do to accommodate a safe first trimester. And always remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Look for Prenatal- or Pregnancy-Specific Exercise Classes

Start searching online or ask friends and family about exercises specifically for pregnant women. Then verify the instructor is licensed. Any exercise class or group led by someone specializing in prenatal health will be geared towards your safety and well-being.

Another benefit?  You’re automatically connecting with other women who are pregnant, and this expands your circle of support both before and after your baby is born.

Start taking daily walks and gentle hikes

Walking at a brisk pace is a wonderful form of low-impact exercise. Just make sure your walking shoes are designed for the task and in good shape as they’ll be supporting more and more weight over the next several months.

Find a yoga or Pilates class in your area

Most yoga and Pilates classes offer prenatal classes, so aim for those if you can make the scheduled times. You can also participate in any classes geared for a low- to moderate-impact workout. Always let the instructor(s) know you are pregnant – and remind them each time.

That being said, you should avoid:

  • Hot (Bikram) yoga classes
  • Vinyasa flow classes (designed to really elevate cardio)
  • Certain poses

Hit the pool for laps or a water exercise class

Water is a soothing and supportive environment for the pregnant body. It protects your joints and pelvis from jarring or jolting impact. Plus, swimming laps and most water exercise classes work far more muscles than the average walk does.

Working out at the gym

If you like to go to the gym, you’re in luck. All of the stationary equipment and weightlifting equipment is considered safe as long as you know how to use it properly. Make sure a trainer is available to show you modifications as your body, stomach and center of balance evolve through your pregnancy.

The key theme around exercising during the first trimester is that it’s a positive. Physician-approved exercise is recommended for women who are pregnant – even during the tender first-trimester. Just make sure you’re exercising safely, with low-impact workouts and classes, and that you never push yourself beyond the comfort zone – that’s pushing your baby beyond his/her comfort zone as well.

The doctors and staff at the Reproductive Medical & Surgery Center of Virginia wish you congratulations, along with a safe, healthy and full-term pregnancy for you and your little one.

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