Exercise during pregnancy: Safe or not?

Pregnancy is a nine month period during which women need to be extremely careful about their health. What they eat, drink, breathe or do will have a direct impact on the new life developing inside them and also on the mother’s health too. Most pregnant women wonder whether it is safe to exercise during this time or not and if it is then what kind of exercises should one indulge in? Read on to find all your answers.

On reaching out to Dr Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Hiranandani Hospital, this is what we could find out about exercising during pregnancy.

Is it safe for pregnant women to exercise?

Exercising during pregnancy is not just recommended but highly essential. By staying active, pregnant women can make their pregnancy journey easier while helping to prepare for pregnancy. “Exercising and physical activity do not increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. Some safe forms of exercise include walking, stationary cycling, stretching exercise, swimming and modified forms of yoga and pilates,” says Dr Mehta. Some benefits of exercise include:

* It generate a good appetite
* It helps in digestion
* Keeps the body flexible
* Keeps your mental health in check
* Makes you stronger for the upcoming delivery
* Ensures baby’s good health

exercise during pregnancy
Make exercise a must during pregnancy not just for your physical but also for your mental health! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

However, pregnant women must be cautious while exercising and always seek the advice of their doctor if they plan to start a new routine or exercise format.

Safe exercises for pregnant women depending on how far along they are:

Exercises during pregnancy are different depending upon the stage of pregnancy. “There are different sets of activities to be done during the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as the body undergoes a lot of physical transformation during each pregnancy period,” says Dr Mehta.

1. First trimester

During the first trimester pregnant women should only do exercises like a slow walk in the park or climbing the stairs. But be gentle with your movements and you should not do any jogging or running. Any other forms of heavy exercise should be strictly avoided.

running while pregnant
Running or jogging should be avoided during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Second trimester

In the second trimester the exercise format should focus primarily on increasing the core strength, correcting your posture, stretching, and relaxing muscles. Also, Dr Mehta cautions that any exercise involving squatting posture should be strictly avoided.

3. Last trimester

During the third and the last trimester squatting exercises and butterfly positions are encouraged to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and facilitate easier labor and delivery.

exercise during pregnancy
Butterfly pose is great for third trimester pregnancy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Note of caution: Dr Mehta advises that pregnant women should not indulge in any exercise without consulting their doctor, as every patient and her specific problems need evaluation to be done safely.

Some precautions to be taken while exercising during pregnancy:

* Warm-up before exercising and do cool down exercises afterwards
* Try to stay active on a daily basis
* Avoid any strenuous exercise and try to stay indoors as much as possible
* Drink a lot of water and other fluids to stay hydrated
* Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regime

So, to sum it up you must exercise but practice caution and you are surely going to have a happy and healthy pregnancy!


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