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Exercise and pregnancy

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on July 9, 2008

If you're an exercise junkie and you're expecting, you'll undoubtedly be asking yourself if you can still exercise during your pregnancy. This depends on the sport or exercise you want to do, your training and your health. Exercise can be very beneficial and relaxing as long as you take it easy and don't push yourself too hard.


Why continue to exercise?

Usually, there's no reason to give up your daily exercise routine as long as it's not too punishing and you're in a good state of health. Exercise can be good for you and your baby: you'll be more relaxed and you’ll follow the changes in your body. However, make sure you take it gently.

Risky sports and exercises for pregnant women

Certain sports should be avoided, particularly if they're violent and you risk falling or hurting yourself. Even if you're very advanced, it’s strongly advised not to ski, horse ride or rock climb because the risk of falling is so great. Athletics should be stopped at the second month of pregnancy. As a general rule, team and combat sports should be avoided as the risk of shocks is quite high.

Recommended sports and exercise

Walking: for all future mums, walking is a good way to get you moving. It’s a good replacement for other sports that you may need to stop, and it's also good for sedentary types!

Swimming: whether you’re a good swimmer or not, swimming or aquerobics is the best form of exercise you can do during pregnancy, along with walking. Aside from being calming, swimming improves your breathing and this will help you during labour. You’ll also work your perineum and strengthen your muscles. However, avoid cold water.

Yoga: a great sport and excellent preparation for birth, with almost identical benefits as swimming.

Pilates: Pilates helps relieve some of the aches and pains linked to pregnancy and helps control your breathing better.

Learn how to control yourself

Exercise by all means, but in moderation! Exercise shouldn't make you feel more tired. You need to know your limits. All excess is dangerous because it can lead to a risk of hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the baby). You should also control your heart beat: take your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to obtain your score for one minute. At the beginning of pregnancy you’ll be out of breath more quickly and your heart beat will be faster.

by Sarah Horrocks