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Top 10 Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy

Although exercise may seem like the last thing a pregnant woman would like to do, physical activity does provide emotional and physical benefits that may lessen the likelihood of excessive weight gain, swelling of hands and feet, insomnia and constipation — all common issues associated with pregnancy. Exercise also improves circulation and increases energy, which is good for mom and baby. Furthermore, exercise may help improve posture and release pressure in the lower back, pelvis and rectal area. Before beginning a fitness routine, however, pregnant women should consider the following tips.

TOP 10 TIPS FOR EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY

  1. OBTAIN A FITNESS EVALUATION FROM YOUR PHYSICIAN.

    Most likely your fitness instructor or personal trainer will ask for signed clearance from your doctor stating that you are able to exercise during your pregnancy.

  2. MAKE A PLAN TO EXERCISE EVERY OTHER DAY OR THREE TIMES PER WEEK.

    Low-impact aerobic activities such as walking or water fitness classes are best as long as you are comfortable.

  3. DON'T PUSH IT.

    It is important that you do not try to exercise if you are not feeling up to it.

  4. TAKE EXTRA TIME TO WARM UP BEFORE AND COOL DOWN AFTER YOUR EXERCISE SESSION.

    Since there are more demands placed on the heart during pregnancy and the resting heart rate increases up to seven beats per minute, it is important to warm up and cool down gradually to avoid any excessive cardiac stress.

  5. STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISING.

    Pregnancy not only affects flexibility and joint laxity, but also increases pressure on the hips and shoulders. Therefore, it is important to stretch before and after exercise to prevent strain or injury due to the unfamiliar body positioning.

  6. TRY WATER EXERCISES.

    Since the buoyancy of water takes the pressure off of your joints and muscles, aquatic activity may be the most comfortable type of exercise during pregnancy.

  7. BE SURE TO STAY WELL HYDRATED THROUGHOUT ACTIVITY.

    Adequate amounts of fluid are necessary to keep body temperature regulated and avoid dehydration during exercise.

  8. MODIFY ALL ABDOMINAL WORK AND DO ALL FLOOR EXERCISES ON YOUR SIDE INSTEAD OF YOUR BACK.

    All abdominal and back work should be modified to reduce strain and avoid compression of the inferior vena cava of the heart, which may decrease blood flow to other areas of the body.

  9. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

    Stop exercising and call your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms: increased uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, amniotic fluid leakage, dizziness or faintness, shortness of breath, palpitations, persistent nausea or vomiting, back or hip pain, difficulty walking, general swelling or edema, numbness anywhere in your body.

  10. CHECK WITH LOCAL FITNESS CENTERS, YMCAS AND HOSPITALS FOR EXERCISE PROGRAMS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN.

    Look for a properly certified instructor who has specialized training in pregnancy and exercise.


FREE MARKETING MATERIAL

Physical activity can bring many benefits to pregnant women — just as long as they take preparations and receive proper guidance from trained professionals. That's where your club comes in.

Thanks to the "Top 10 Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy," courtesy of Club Industry and the American Council on Exercise, you can teach pregnant members and prospects how exercise can improve their health, as well as the health of their unborn children. At the same time, you'll help keep these women in your club during their pregnancy, a time of high dropout.

Don't stand back and let your pregnant members leave — especially since they may not return. Show them how your club can help them now. Make copies of the Top 10 and share the information with female members. Click here for a printable flyer. Remember: Pregnancy doesn't need to turn into a nine-month hiatus from exercise.