Exercise during Pregnancy

Regular exercise can often help to minimize the physical discomforts during pregnancy and help with the recovery after the baby is born. There is evidence that physical activity may be especially beneficial for women with gestational diabetes. Regular physical activity during pregnancy also helps prevent excessive weight gain, improve and maintain fitness, boost mood and regulate blood pressure and glucose levels.  

It is highly recommended that all expecting women be evaluated by their doctor or a registered dietitian before beginning or continuing an exercise program in pregnancy. To speak with a registered dietitian call (314) 996-4987 or email us.

Generally, 30 minutes of mild to moderate activity, such as walking is recommended most days of the day week. If your pre-pregnancy physical activity level was high, you goals may be different. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who exercised and were physically fit before pregnancy can safely continue exercising throughout the pregnancy. Women who were inactive before pregnancy or who have medical or pregnancy complications should consult with their doctor before beginning any exercise during pregnancy.

While exercise is part of a healthy pregnancy, it is important to avoid exercising on your back after the first trimester.

Exercise may not be safe if the pregnant woman has any of the following conditions:

·         Preterm labor in current or past pregnancies

·         Vaginal bleeding

·         Cervical problems

·         Leaking of amniotic fluid

·         Shortness of breath

·         Dizziness and/or fainting

·         Decreased fetal activity or other complications

·         Increased heart rate (tachycardia), although heart rate is typically higher in pregnant women 

·         Certain health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart disease

Certain exercises should be avoided during pregnancy, including:

·         Horseback riding

·         Water skiing

·         Scuba diving

·         High altitude skiing

·         Contact sports

·         Any exercise that can cause a serious fall

·         Vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather

Fluid replacement after physical activity is important as your own blood volume increases 30-50% during pregnancy as well as your baby’s blood volume. Adequate fluids are important to avoid dehydration.

Aim for 10 cups of fluid daily.  Water is your best bet, but fat free and low fat milk and 100% fruit juice count toward your goal. 

Remember the added calories from sugary beverages such as regular soda, fruit drinks and sports and energy drinks can add up quickly and provide very little nutritional value.

In addition, energy drinks often contain ingredients, such as caffeine and herbs that are recommended to limit or avoid during pregnancy, as their safety is not determined.

If you have questions about exercising during your pregnancy, call (314) 996-4987 or email us to speak with a registered dietitian.