Exercise during pregnancy can relieve backache, prevent varicose veins, reduce constipation and make labor easier. Walking and swimming are good choices. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), unless there is a medical reason to avoid it, pregnant women should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, on most days. The following guidelines are important to keep in mind. (Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program!)
Begin with a few minutes a day, and gradually increase. Cool down, by gradually slowing down before stopping. Always stretch before exercising.
Continue to eat nutritious foods, and drink lots of water, especially after exercising.
Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Do not exercise in very hot weather. Overheating can be dangerous for your baby.
Stay off your back
Avoid doing any exercise on your back after the first trimester. The weight of the uterus can reduce the flow of blood to your baby.
Avoid risky activities
Avoid any activity that puts you at high risk for injury, such as horseback riding, skiing or kickboxing.
Know when to stop
Stop exercising when you feel tired. Never exercise to exhaustion. Stop if you feel dizzy, have difficulty breathing or get swollen hands and feet. Contact your doctor if the symptoms continue.
Every pregnancy is different; Always talk to your prenatal care provider before beginning any exercise program.