Is it Safe to Exercise While Pregnant?

I’ve been nesting lately.  Not because I’m pregnant, but because three women on my bodybuilding team, Mel’s Machines are expecting, and another teammate just delivered a beautiful baby girl a few weeks ago.  I’ve nicknamed them Mel’s Baby Making Machines.  These preggers lift weights and do boot camp.  (Side note:  It’s very difficult to sulk about how tough an exercise is when your standing next to someone in her second trimester barely breaking a sweat.)  Another woman on my team gave birth and seven months later competed in a figure competition…wearing a bikini… and looked phenomenal.

Now, not to brag, but when I was pregnant I exercised never.  (I proudly represent the team slacker.)  Prior to gestation I had run not one but four marathons and was a regular at the gym.  Yet, with pregnancy came the ultimate excuse for me to cop out on diet and exercise.  A seasoned yo-yo dieter, I loved that for the first time in my life people were shoving food in front of me (“you’re eating for two!”) and I rationalized that ice cream was a good source of calcium.  (It’s not.)

But there was a part of me that really was concerned about the safety of exercise during pregnancy.  The good news, if you are expecting and you were worried about this too, is that doctors are now very supportive of exercise during pregnancy and note a lot of health benefits as well.

Before you start here are some precautions:

  1. Get your doctor’s approval before doing any exercise
  2. Don’t exercise lying on your back after the first trimester
  3. Consider avoiding contact sports (soccer, hockey, basketball) and sports where you could fall (gymnastics, horseback riding, skiing)
  4. Listen to your body!  If you are feeling dizzy, short of breath or are spotting, stop exercising
  5. If you lift do strength training consider reducing the weight and doing more reps

    Before and After -

    Before and After –

What are some exercises you can do?

  1. Check out a pregnancy yoga class
  2. Consider working with a personal trainer who has experience working with pregnant clients
  3. If you like working out at home, you might want to try this kettlebell prenatal workout DVD by one of my sponsors, Jessica DiBiase
  4. If you are new to exercise, start slow, and start walking.  Even ten minutes a day is beneficial.
  5. Low impact aerobic activities like the stationary bike and swimming

Remember, exercise is great as long as you keep the healthy of the baby as your top priority.  Take it at your own pace and listen to your body.  And if your doctor says you need to hold off on exercise for now, here’s a secret (the gym will still be there after you give birth.) 

Sources for this article:

What are your thoughts about exercise and pregnancy?

Lisa ;) (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

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