Regular physical activity has important health benefits in pregnancy and beyond. A pregnant woman who exercises is more likely to gain an optimal amount of weight during pregnancy and less likely to be bothered by lower back pain as her belly grows. In addition, the pregnant body likely enjoys the same benefits of exercise as the non-pregnant body: decreased stress, better sleep, improved mood and decreased anxiety. Finally, physical strength and cardiovascular endurance can only help you with the work of labor.
Once pregnant, stop any contact sports or those activities where you’re likely to fall on your belly. Otherwise, you can continue with the same exercise you did before you were pregnant. Make sure to stay well-hydrated, and if you feel short of breath or dizzy, sit down and take a break.
Never exercised before? Pregnancy is a great time to start! Prenatal yoga, walking, or swimming are all safe, effective choices. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.