For most women, the answer is yes, as long as you slightly alter your exercise routine to take into account your new physical state. So keep cycling, swimming and walking. Millions of women sail through their pregnancy staying healthy, strong and invigorated through exercise.
For the expectant mother with a healthy, normal pregnancy, exercise can be very safe. For those who have experienced pre-term labor, or had some obstetrical complications in this, or previous pregnancies, exercise may not be recommended. The bottom-line? Pregnant women should not attempt a fitness program without consulting their doctor first. Only by taking a full medical history can your doctor recommend a routine for you and your baby.
Exercising gives you benefits
Expectant mothers are often most comfortable, and have less injuries, when they follow a non-weightbearing exercise routine, such as swimming or cycling. A study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reveals that pregnant women who follow a non-weightbearing exercise program are more likely to continue it into the third trimester than those who attempt weightbearing exercises such as running or lifting weights.
Some valuable safety tips for exercising during pregnancy:
Though exercise in pregnancy is generally safe, expectant mothers should be aware of warning signs. If any of these symptoms occur, stop exercising and contact your doctor : sudden and severe abdominal pain; regular uterine contractions lasting 30 minutes once exercising stops; dizziness; and vaginal bleeding. Other signs are decreased fetal activity, visual disturbances, or numbness in any part of the body.
For some women, such as those with heart disease, thrombophlebitis (blood clots), recent pulmonary embolism, or for those who have a "high risk" pregnancy, exercise may not be recommended. In taking the complete medical history, the doctor will determine if maternal conditions limit, or exclude, an exercise program.
Most women are able to safely participate in an exercise program during pregnancy (Md Med J, 1996; 45(8):637-41). As long as an expectant mother listens to her body's cues and follows common sense guidelines, exercise can be a valuable way to improve overall well being during this special time. And, best of all, a fit mother will feel her very best right from the start of her new baby's life.