Can you exercise during pregnancy?

There are always many questions about exercising during pregnancy, its benefits, and whether it's safe at various stages of pregnancy. Exercise offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, but can a pregnant woman exercise? What types of activities are safe for pregnant women? And when can they be practiced? Find the answers and more in this detailed article.

Published on:Oct 20th 2023 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
هل يمكن ممارسة الرياضة أثناء الحمل

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

If you were used to exercising before pregnancy, in most cases, you can continue with workouts approved by your doctor. Exercising during pregnancy significantly improves physical and mental health and the fetus's health. Here's how:

  • Preventing excessive weight gain.
  • Reducing various pregnancy aches and pains.
  • Enhancing the digestive system, reducing symptoms like bloating, constipation, and heartburn.
  • Strengthening pelvic muscles reduces the likelihood of premature birth and perineal tearing.
  • Improving posture.
  • Reducing any back pain caused by pregnancy.
  • Enhancing sleep quality and combatting insomnia.
  • Preventing gestational hypertension.
  • Increasing overall activity and reducing fatigue.
  • Preventing gestational diabetes.
  • Lowering the risk of swollen feet.
  • Improving skin and adding to the pregnancy glow.
  • Improving mood, reducing anxiety, stress, and pregnancy depression.
  • Strengthening the body's immunity decreases the risk of infections and contagious diseases.
  • Reducing the possibility of leg varicose veins.
  • Making childbirth easier.

When is exercise safe during pregnancy?

If you don't have any health issues and your pregnancy is progressing well, you can exercise at any time during the pregnancy if you have your obstetrician's approval. It's essential to be cautious and avoid high-intensity exercises, especially jumping during the first trimester, to prevent complications and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Does the fetus benefit if the mother exercises during pregnancy?

A recent medical study indicated that the benefits of exercising during pregnancy also extend to the fetus. It was found that children whose mothers exercised during pregnancy developed their motor skills and coordination faster and better. This research also showed that the hearts of these children are stronger and healthier, implying that the benefits of exercise are not confined to the mother's cardiovascular health but also positively impact her child.

What if you weren't active? Can you start exercising while pregnant?

Recent studies have indicated that it's safe to start exercising during pregnancy, even if the woman isn't used to physical activity. However, it's essential to begin gradually and engage in light, non-strenuous exercises for short durations, slowly increasing the time. Consult with your doctor to ensure there's no issue with starting to exercise during pregnancy. Start with easy exercises like walking, dancing, yoga, or Pilates for about fifteen minutes daily, gradually increasing the duration to thirty minutes. Initially, allow your body to rest and avoid exercising every day.

Tips to Ensure Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Consult your doctor to determine the best times to perform suitable exercises.
  • Wear comfortable cotton clothes, avoid pressing on your belly, and remember to wear a sports bra to protect the breast tissues.
  • Choose comfortable athletic shoes.
  • Warm up before starting exercises and stretch afterward to prevent muscle strain.
  • Drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
  • Maintain a balanced diet rich in proteins, vegetables, fruits, and other beneficial natural elements while limiting processed foods and those high in sugar and saturated fats.
  • Don't exercise under direct sunlight or in extremely hot conditions to prevent heatstroke and exhaustion.
  • If you were used to exercising for a full hour before pregnancy, reduce the duration so it doesn't exceed 30 to 45 minutes.

Safe Exercises During Pregnancy Include

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Low to moderate-intensity aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Weightlifting while seated, but only with a doctor's approval.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Any activities where there's a risk of falling.
  • Team sports like soccer and basketball where there's potential danger from a ball hitting the pregnant belly.
  • Activities involving jumping, running, or sudden movements.
  • Waist-bending exercises.
  • Sports that involve holding one's breath, like diving and competitive swimming.

Signs You Should Stop Exercising During Pregnancy

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Intense cramping.
  • Severe back pain.
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid.
  • Swelling in the feet or face.
  • A sudden feeling of coldness.
  • Intense headache.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek medical care immediately.

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OmoomaOmooma | First Online Arabic Motherhood Training Platform

Omooma is the first Online platform offering classes in Arabic dedicated to mothers and mothers-to-be. In addition to content covering many relevant topics, women’s health, pregnancy, fertility, child’s health, and parenting. Omooma’s articles are written by medical writers, based on extensive research, and reviewed by a panel of experts who are part of the largest team of experts available in the region in all fields related to the journey of motherhood.

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