Research has shown that healthy women and their fetuses can benefit from exercise during pregnancy. These exercises options are healthy for mom and are safe for baby, too.
While women should first consult with their physician prior to exercising, they may have easier pregnancies and healthier babies if they consistently exercise during pregnancy. As long as they workout with their doctor’s monitoring and approval.
Early on, pregnant women can perform exercises that they did prior to pregnancy, provided that they are safe, still feel comfortable and are not too intense. As the baby grows and a woman’s body gets bigger, higher impact activities such as running may become uncomfortable for some exercisers, who may then choose different options. And toward the end of pregnancy, most women will adopt a lower-intensity regimen.
Although every woman and every pregnancy is different, in general, pregnant women can enjoy:
- Walking (outside, on a track or treadmill)
- Elliptical trainer
- Stationary bike or group cycling
- Rowing machine
- Aqua exercise
- Strength training
- Pre-natal yoga
- Group fitness classes such as Zumba or low-impact aerobics
Of course, throughout their pregnancies, women should listen to their bodies and determine what works best for them, which may change over the gestation period.
With consistent exercise, pregnant women stay strong and have greater energy, and often feel better equipped to handle the rigors of pregnancy. Studies also indicate that their labor and delivery is smoother and shorter, and they are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight post-partum if they exercise during pregnancy. Babies of exercising mothers are generally leaner and recover more quickly from the stresses of labor.
When you are pregnant, your body has to be at its best, so keep it strong throughout to benefit you and your baby!