Working Out while You're Pregnant

The great fitness movement hasn't left pregnant women behind. You see them jogging in parks, working out in gyms, or stretching their limbs in yoga classes. During pregnancy, exercise helps your body in many ways: It keeps your heart strong and your muscles in shape, and it relieves the basic discomforts of pregnancy — from morning sickness to constipation to achy legs and backs.

The earlier in pregnancy a woman gets regular exercise, the more comfortable she is likely to feel throughout the 40 weeks. Regular exercise may even make for shorter labor.

So if you're in good health and not at risk for obstetrical or medical complications, by all means go ahead and continue with your exercise program — unless your program calls for climbing Mount Fuji, entering a professional boxing match, or some other super-strenuous activity. Go over your exercise program with your practitioner, so he knows what you're doing and so that you can ask any other questions you have.

As good as exercise is for most pregnant women, we don't advise it for everyone. If you have any of the following conditions, you may be better off not working out — at least until you discuss the situation with your doctor:

  • Bleeding

  • Incompetent cervix

  • Intrauterine growth restriction

  • Low volume of amniotic fluid

  • Placenta previa (late in pregnancy)

  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension

  • Premature labor or preterm rupture of the membranes

  • Carrying triplets or more

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