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Reading Can Pregnancy Weight Loss Be Good?, I stumble across

"We know that exercise in pregnancy is safe for everybody," Artal says. "When we talk exercise, we talk about just walking -- a safe form of exercise.

The quote above states that walking is safe, which could be interpreted as "only walking is safe during pregnancy.", but it's entirely clear if that's the intention.

At some point in a pregnancy, it probably gets uncomfortable for both mother and child to do jumping jacks or crunches, but other exercises, say pull ups or squats, are less obviously problematic.

So I'm wondering if there are more specific guidelines regarding what exercise one should, or should not perform, during pregnancy.

  • As a general rule, it's not advisable to take up new exercises while pregnant (walking is fine; everybody walks) - if you didn't do it before, don't start now. Also, any contact sports, sports where falling might be expected (including horseback riding), of exercises which usually require the Valsalva maneuver (holding breath then working) are discouraged. As always with pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider. – anongoodnurse Apr 14 '15 at 22:53
  • My currently pregnant girlfriend said that for all activity (including walking) the moment to stop and rest is when you get short on breath, because the baby shares your oxygen supply and will also get shortages if you push yourself beyond that point. – Erik Apr 17 '15 at 10:24
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As with any medical issue, first follow the guidance of your physician (in this case, also include your obstetrician). However, let's assume that you've already done this and gotten the all-clear from the docs. In that case, most exercises are safe to do for a large part of pregnancy; the big thing is to listen to your body. Your balance will be affected as the baby grows, and you should be very aware of dehydration and make sure you drink plenty of water.

For example, I ran during both my full-term pregnancies, but had to quit at 4 months with my son after placenta previa was diagnosed. I also did regular weights and yoga (my local gym had a yoga class especially for moms, moms-to-be and babies).

The good thing is, exercise during pregnancy will help keep you sane (it kept the first trimester progesterone poisoning at bay for me) and hopefully make birth and recovery easier. Exercise has benefits for the baby, too!

I've linked a few articles that should give you some more data, as well as some points to discuss with your docs. Good luck!

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For a women with no pregnancy complications, any exercise done in moderate levels is considered safe during pregnancy. It is also advised not to take up any difficult exercise (especially if you are new to it) while pregnant.

Women with medical problems (like asthma, heart disease, uncontrolled type 1 diabetes), and obstetric condition (like Bleeding/Spotting, Weak Cervix) are advised not do exercise.

Safe Exercises During Pregnancy: Most exercises are considered safe during pregnancy, as long as you do not over do it. Exercises like Swimming, Walking, Bicycling (indoor) falls under this category. Jogging and running can be done in moderation.

According to WebMD, the following should be avoided during pregnancy.

Holding your breath during any activity

Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding)

Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball and volleyball

Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma, including activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing

Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches

Bouncing while stretching

Exercises that require lying on your back or right side for more than three minutes. (especially after your third month of pregnancy)

Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity

Exercise in hot, humid weather

Scuba diving

If a pregnant woman is new to exercise, doctors generally advice to include walking in their daily routine, as it is safe to perform in any trimester.

Consulting healthcare provider before starting any exercise is always better for a pregnant women and her developing baby, as he/she, considering your past medical history, provides necessary suggestions and tips for safe exercise.

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Exercise during pregnancy is generally considered to be a good thing as it helps you stay healthy and helps with the fitness required for the birth. However, you should always follow the advice of your doctor or midwife first.

Assuming that you have no conditions that prevent it then I'm not aware that there is any level of activity that should be avoided but you have to use your common sense. If you don't feel good, then stop immediately, take a rest and perhaps start again more gently if you feel up to it.

What exercise you can manage also depends on how active you were before pregnancy. If you don't normally do much exercise then it's not a good time to start doing intensive training which your body is not used to. Pregnancy is already a big strain on your body. If you're normally very active then you can probably continue with most things and adapt them to how you feel.

It also depends what stage of pregnancy you have reached. Up to about half way through my pregnancy, I was able to swim as much as I could before. After about half way, I found that I started to feel unwell and dizzy if I swam too strenuously. In those cases I did what I advised above - stopped, rested and continued after some time if I felt up to it. Eventually I stopped swimming as I was worried about feeling unwell in the water. However, I had no problems with reasonably brisk walking and including climbing stairs.

There are some activities which are generally not considered a good idea for pregnant women such as lifting heavy weights although I have heard of some women who do it without problems.

Some exercise is particularly targeted at pregnant women. Pregnancy yoga is very common. I did this and really enjoyed it. It's a good way to connect with other pregnant women and often includes exercises to help you prepare for the birth. Swimming is also supposed to be very good as you don't need to support your weight.

In summary, try to make sure you do some exercise as it is good for you but listen to your doctor and listen to your body. Do what you feel comfortable with and slow down or stop if you don't feel good.

Sources: advice from midwife during pregnancy and personal experience

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