Getting (or staying) active during your pregnancy has numerous benefits, including increased energy and decreased stress. Get moving with these expert tips.
Research shows that moderate exercise may also be beneficial for the fetus. Studies have shown that women who exercise at least three days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time have larger and better-functioning placentas than those who were fit before pregnancy but did not exercise while pregnant.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association advises pregnant women to follow these exercise guidelines:
• Take time to warm up and cool down.
• Drink plenty of fluids and take breaks for a drink as needed. Take care not to get overheated or dehydrated.
• Don't exercise on an empty stomach. Have a light and nutritious snack about an hour before exercising.
• Wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing, appropriate footwear and a good supportive bra.
• Avoid exercises that involve twisting or jarring motions.
• If an exercise hurts, stop doing it.
• Discuss your exercise plans with your physician or midwife.
What are some good activities for pregnant women?
Swimming is an excellent choice because the water supports your extra weight and reduces the chance of muscle strain.
Walking and low-impact aerobics are also good options.
Some physicians recommend avoiding activities such as horseback riding and skiing because your shifting centre of gravity can make falls and injuries more likely. Scuba diving is also not recommended because the effect of underwater pressures on the fetus in unknown, and therefore risky.