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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?


pregnant woman doing squats

Pregnancy is a transformative journey that brings about changes in both your body and your daily routine. As you navigate this exciting phase, you may wonder whether it's safe to continue exercising. The good news is that, in most cases, exercise can be beneficial for both you and your baby. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of staying active during pregnancy, address common concerns, and provide guidance on exercising safely with the help of a physical therapist.


The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy:


1. Improved Mood: Regular exercise can help alleviate mood swings and reduce stress, promoting emotional well-being.


2. Enhanced Energy Levels: Staying active can boost your energy levels and help counteract pregnancy-related fatigue.


3. Reduced Discomfort: Exercise can help manage common discomforts like back pain, swelling, and constipation.


4. Healthy Weight Gain: Maintaining a healthy weight gain through exercise can have positive effects on both you and your baby.


5. Preparation for Labor: Strengthening your muscles, particularly your core and pelvic floor, can aid in labor and postpartum recovery.


Consult Your Healthcare Provider:


Before starting or continuing an exercise routine during pregnancy, it's crucial to consult your healthcare provider. They can assess your medical history, any potential risk factors, and offer personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances.



Exercising Safely:


1. Choose Low-Impact Activities: Opt for low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and prenatal yoga. These activities are gentle on your joints and provide cardiovascular benefits.


2. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise. If you experience pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or contractions, stop exercising immediately and consult your healthcare provider.


3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated.


4. Modify Your Routine: As your body changes, you may need to modify your exercises. Avoid activities that involve lying flat on your back after the first trimester and those that pose a risk of falling or abdominal trauma.


5. Pelvic Floor and Core: Engage in exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor and core muscles, as these play a vital role during pregnancy and postpartum.


The Role of a Physical Therapist:


A physical therapist with expertise in women's health (we have two pelvic floor PT's on our staff, Sandy and Sara) can be an invaluable resource during your pregnancy journey. They can design a customized exercise plan tailored to your changing needs, address any discomforts, and ensure your workouts are safe and effective.


Embrace the Journey:


Remember that every pregnancy is unique, and it's important to listen to your body. Stay attuned to how you feel and make modifications as needed. By maintaining a balanced approach to exercise, you can support your well-being and contribute to a healthier pregnancy.


References:

- Perales, M., Calabro, M. A., & O'Connor, E. (2016). “Distinguishing between physical activity and exercise in pregnancy research.” The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 29(7), 1047-1052.

- Barakat, R., Perales, M., & Garatachea, N. (2018). “Exercise during pregnancy. A narrative review asking: what do we know?.” British journal of sports medicine, 52(21), 1399-1406.

- Davies, G. A., Wolfe, L. A., Mottola, M. F., & MacKinnon, C. (2003). “Joint SOGC/CSEP clinical practice guideline: exercise in pregnancy and the postpartum period.” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 28(3), 330-341.

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