Not long ago, doctors thought exercise was bad for pregnant women. Now we have evidence of its many benefits, including shorter labor, avoidance of excess weight gain, better mood, improved body image, and greater stamina as you carry around your growing baby and those necessary extra pounds.
Here are my eight exercise guidelines:
- Find an activity you enjoy (or at least don't hate) so you will do it regularly: a total of 30 minutes or more, most days each week.
- Make it fun-bring music to listen to, or team up with a friend
- Keep cool: dress in layers, and stop if you feel overheated
- Keep hydrated: stop and drink sports drinks or water when you are thirsty
- Stay off your back: after 18 weeks, lying flat may diminish blood circulation to the baby
- Use the "talk test": your breathing shouldn't be so labored that you can't hold a conversation
- Stop immediately if you get lightheaded or feel awful: this is not a time to "push through the pain"
- Be sure to check with your doctor to be certain that exercise is a good idea for you, especially if your pregnancy is high risk in any way