How to Work Out Safely for Pregnant Women

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We all know the benefit of working out and proper exercise. Many who have begun a daily or weekly regimen want to continue these habits while they are pregnant.

However, it is important to be careful when you are pregnant when it comes to working out. In order to keep you safe and give you some opportunity to work out, we have developed the following tips on working out while pregnant. Please use them wisely.

1. Discuss your exercise habits with your doctor

First, you should always discuss your exercise habits with your doctor before beginning any exercise or workout program while you are pregnant. Some women are not able to work out at all during pregnancy, and it is important that you understand any risks that you may be putting your baby in.

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2. Take in a few extra calories

Next, you should take in a few extra calories to take the place of the ones you will be losing while you are pregnant. It is important not to overdo it in the calorie field while pregnant, but maintaining a healthy diet for your baby is very important.

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For healthy women, an additional 300 calories per day are enough to cover the growing needs of your baby. However, if you are exercising you will need to take in a few more.

3. Only participate in safe exercise programs

You should also be sure to only participate in safe exercise programs. While most women can safely walk throughout their pregnancy, it is important to stay away from contact sports and those that require balance. Even for women who are normally agile and balanced, added pregnancy weight will make you off balance and a bit clumsy.

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4. Wear comfortable clothes

Make sure that you are choosing the right clothes to work out in. They should be breathable and comfortable, but still offers the support that you need to be able to work out. You will probably need to purchase new tennis shoes, however, because most women find that their feet swell throughout pregnancy.

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5. Do warm up exercises before you begin working out

This is important for both pregnant and non-pregnant women, but pregnant women benefit from this because it will help their heart rate rise slowly. With the added weight that you are carrying around, you will need this in order to keep aches and pains at bay after your workout is complete.

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6. Drink lots of water during workout sessions

Drinking lots of water during workout sessions is also a very important thing to do for pregnant women. By not taking in enough liquids, you have the chance of becoming dehydrated, which is very bad for you and your baby. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight ounces before you even begin working out and another eight ounces for every 20 minutes that you are working out.

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When doing low tolerance workouts, such as yoga, be sure to refrain from lying on your back, especially after the first trimester. This puts unneeded pressure on major veins that can cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous. It can also reduce the flow of blood to your heart and make you short of breath.

7. Try to keep moving as much as possible

You should also try to keep moving as much as possible. By standing in one place for extended periods of time, you are causing your blood flow to decrease and gather in your legs. This can make you dizzy. If you are performing an exercise that requires you to stand in one place, be sure to switch up your positions regularly.

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8. Do not overdo it

Finally, be sure that you do not overdo it. You may have been able to exercise for hours on end before you became pregnant, but you will quickly tire now. If you are able to continue a conversation, you are going at the right speed and difficulty level. You should also listen to your body and slow down if you feel that something is too difficult.

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9. Talk to your doctor about exercise

Most women can easily workout while they are pregnant and it is usually advised. However, it is very important that you talk to your doctor about exercise up front. Stick to exercises that he says are ok for you to do and refrain from doing things that can put you or your baby in danger. While exercise can be good for both you and your baby, you should always be aware of how your body is reacting to the things you are putting it through and adjust your workouts accordingly.

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Ms. Wisniewski has over 15 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, having also worked previously as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She enjoys empowering women and providing family centered care to women from all cultural and educational backgrounds.