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Exercise Safely

Below is a general list of Do's and Don'ts to help you exercise safely during pregnancy. Also, be sure to review the recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and pace yourself to limit the intensity of your exercise.

Exercise Safety Do's and Don'ts
  • Do join a prenatal exercise class. Even if you are an experienced exerciser this can provide you with appropriate modifications for pregnancy.
  • Do wear comfortable clothing.
  • Do drink cool water before, during and after exercising
  • Do choose seated exercises whenever possible.
  • Do decrease the amount of weight you lift. Avoid heavy weight lifting since this can cause a quick increase in blood pressure.
  • Do learn the pelvic tilt exercise. This exercise strengthens abdominal muscles and the muscles that support the lower back.
  • Do pace yourself and avoid fatigue.
  • Do wear appropriate walking or running shoes with appropriate support and comfort.
  • Do avoid any type of exercise involving a potential for abdominal trauma.
  • Do check for separation of the abdominal muscles weekly.
  • Do begin and end each exercise session with five to ten minutes of slow, gradual stretching.
  • Do decrease your exercise intensity as your pregnancy progresses
  • Do continue pre-pregnancy activities as long as it feels comfortable.
  • Don't continue exercising if at anytime you develop any of the following symptoms:
    Breathlessness Muscle weakness
    Strain Dizziness
    Nausea Headache
    Chest pain Bleeding
    Uterine contractions,
    which occur six or more times per hour
    Stop immediately. Talk with your doctor.
  • Don't overheat. Don't dress too warm.
  • Don't forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Dehydration can cause a decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid or an increase in your body temperature.
  • Don't exercise to exhaustion. Stop exercising when fatigued.
  • Don't perform jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions during pregnancy since your ligaments are more relaxed which may increase the risk of injury.
  • Don't exercise on your back after the first trimester since cardiac output (blood flow) is reduced in this position.
  • Don't do exercises that require twisting, full sit-ups, toe touches, body twists, side leg swings, or straight leg raises. These movements compress down on the uterus.
  • Don't expose yourself to extremely hot water in whirlpools and hot tubs or high temperatures in saunas
  • Don't overarch your back while exercising.
  • Don't forget to breathe while exercising; breathe continually and exhale on exertion.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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