Pregnancy and Exercise: Is it Safe?
I see a fear of exercise in my pregnant students – and no wonder.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) only deemed exercise during pregnancy safe in 2002. Prior to that, generations of women were encouraged to hold off on working out while pregnant. Unfortunately, the myth that exercise could harm your baby still persists today.
However, not only is exercise during pregnancy is now considered safe – it’s actually considered to be highly beneficial to mama and baby.
How Much Exercise is Safe?
The right type and amount of exercise can help us feel healthy throughout our pregnancy, prepare our bodies and mind for labor and delivery, and support a quicker postpartum recovery.
Keep in mind, the key term in all of this is right – as in right for you and your baby. A mom-to-be who is highly active before pregnancy may be able maintain that level of activity, albeit with some modifications toward the end of her second trimester. A pregnant mama who has fallen out of her exercise routine, but wants to get back into it would benefit from walking and – of course – prenatal yoga!
Just 5-15 minutes a day of prenatal yoga is actually more effective than a full hour and a half class each week. That’s because each day, we are aligning with our highest potential – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ma Yoga is alignment-based, which means every pose is an opportunity to find the integrity, strength, and space in our optimal “blueprint” – the natural curves of our spine, and directions of movement of our muscles.
Which Types of Exercise are Safe?
Aside from prenatal yoga and walking, what are some other types of exercise are pregnancy-friendly? Swimming is highly recommended because it’s an excellent source of cardio, but without any of the impact of running. As your baby continues to grow, the feeling of weightlessness you experience in the pool is wonderful! Other forms of exercise that are excellent for moms-to-be are aerobics, dancing, weight training and Tai Chi.
Even if you’re a fitness fiend, pregnancy isn’t the time to be trying out new types of exercise, particularly those that can lead to falls (such as horseback riding or snowboarding). However, if you had been participating in a more strenuous style of exercise at least six months prior to getting pregnant, you most likely can keep it up during the earlier parts of your pregnancy. Of course, always check with your healthcare provider about changing your exercise routine – especially when you’re pregnant!
Things to Keep in Mind
As with anything in pregnancy, the most important thing is to listen to your body and your baby. If something feels wrong or painful when exercising, stop. Even if it’s something you’ve done a thousand times before! If the issue persists, contact your healthcare provider.
Be sure to drink enough water, take breaks and go easy on yourself. You’re growing another life inside of you! If you only have 5-15 minutes a day, use it to practice alignment-based yoga. It’s a great use of short amounts of time.
So if you love exercise, yes! By all means, just do it. And if you DON’T love exercise, now’s a great time to find something you love.
Our ten senior Ma Yoga teachers have over 100 years experience between them and have created classes for each step of your journey. Join us now for a guided home practice!