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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Should You Start Exercising During Pregnancy?

Remember when we were told that you should only continue the same exercise you were doing prior to pregnancy and not start anything new? New research says otherwise. It's time to exercise, pregnant mamas!

The research found, "Routine exercise should be recommended to healthy pregnant women after consultation with an obstetric provider. Even pregnant women who have not been exercising regularly can gradually increase their exercise during pregnancy. Regular exercise during pregnancy promotes overall wellness and helps maintain appropriate gestational weight gain and appropriate fetal weight gain. Exercise in pregnancy may also reduce hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and gestational diabetes, and may be associated with shorter first stage of labor and decreased risk for cesarean section. Exercise in pregnancy is safe for pregnant women and their fetuses and can have multiple health benefits."

Based on the research we have around pregnancy and exercise, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has even updated their guidelines.

When it comes to exercising, it doesn't matter if your pregnant or not, it's easier if you find something you do that you enjoy. For some of us, simply knowing that exercise will benefit you and baby, is enough to get moving. And anything is better than nothing. It can be as simple as getting out for a walk every day or more intense like high energy interval training. Exercising with friends or music may make it more enjoyable and you more likely to stick to it.

If exercise is new to you, start slow. If you are finding you are getting too sore, recovering slowly or bleeding, slow down and modify your exercises. Working with your chiropractor, pelvic floor physio or personal trainer (I love the Birthfit programming) can be helpful.

There are some amazing benefits of exercise during pregnancy. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Decreased risk of depression and increased mental well being

  • Decreased risk of developing gestational diabetes (and thus, baby's future risk of diabetes is reduced)

  • Decreased risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia

  • Appropriate weight gain for mama and baby

  • Better prepared for labor (the ultimate fitness event!)

There are some incidences where exercise needs to be very modified or may even be contra indicated for pregnancy. Please work with your trusted medical provider to determine what is best for you! This is especially important if you are not currently exercising, but want to start after you learned you are pregnant.

Some of my personal favorite exercises for pregnancy (because they are very modifiable to each individual and to a growing belly) include dumbbell workouts, prenatal yoga or mobility and hiking. They also benefit the entire body (no "spot" training), muscular and cardiovascular system. They can all be done with minimal equipment and anywhere! I guess hiking is outside, but you could also walk inside and do laps on the stairs, if you have them.

There are so many benefits to exercising, especially when you are pregnant. If you aren't already, I hope you will consider it! If you need some extra help, I offer customized #NoExcuses programming.

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