If you think that pregnancy gives you the perfect excuse to sit on the couch, think again. It turns out that exercising throughout your pregnancy is not only healthy for you, but it’s also beneficial.
While it’s true you may have less time and energy to exercise while you’re pregnant, there are a lot of important reasons to continue with the habit. Here, the providers at Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, explain how to exercise safely during each trimester of pregnancy.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy
The science is clear: Exercise is very good for you during pregnancy. One of the best benefits of exercise is that you get the mood-boosting release of endorphins. This helps you to relieve stress, which is always important, but even more so during pregnancy.
Exercising during pregnancy has other benefits as well, such as:
- Lowering risk of developing gestational diabetes
- Lowering risk of developing preeclampsia
- Lowering risk of preterm labor
- Relieving back pain
- Shortening labor
- Lowering the risk of having a C-section
- Promoting faster recovery after delivery
If you need help knowing what exercises are safe for you, Dr. Weyhrich and our team are happy to help.
The first trimester
Exercising during the first trimester may feel a little challenging, especially if you’re dealing with symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue. If you already have an established fitness routine and your pregnancy is considered low risk, in most cases, you can continue with the exercises you did before.
You should aim to get at least 150 minutes a week of cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or swimming. This works out to only 30 minutes, five times a week, so it doesn’t have to be anything grueling. You should also do two or three days of strength training as well, focusing on your major muscle groups.
The second trimester
For most women, morning sickness begins to go away in the second trimester, and you may begin feeling a bit better. Your energy levels may even bounce back a little. However, your growing uterus is beginning to get in the way, and you will need to work around it and take some precautions.
You can still do most of the same cardiovascular exercises you did in the first trimester and most of the strength training exercises as well. But you’ll want to take care to avoid any exercises that involve lying on your back for long periods of time, as well as avoiding exercises that involve jumping or running or that require balance.
The third trimester
You will naturally begin to slow down quite a bit in the third trimester and will have to adapt your fitness routine accordingly. But you can and should still do whatever cardiovascular exercise you can. Some good choices include prenatal yoga, pilates, swimming, and walking.
However, be aware that your center of gravity is shifting, which puts you at a greatly increased risk of falling. Avoid any activities that require balance.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits and can be done on some level in each trimester. If you need more information, contact Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich or request an appointment online.