You likely have lots of questions regarding the do’s and don’ts of exercising during your unplanned pregnancy. What you can do, how much and when. Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to give you the inside scoop on all things pregnancy and exercise-related!
But whether you have current exercise habits or not, your routine and the rest of your body will begin to change with your pregnancy.
The following is meant for information purposes only. None of this should be taken as a diagnosis or medical recommendation. Please consult your primary healthcare provider for details regarding your specific circumstances.
Exercising during Your Unplanned Pregnancy
Regular exercise has many benefits; however, it’s important to know the boundaries and what is considered healthy when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. A good rule of thumb is that, if you already have an established exercise routine, continue to remain active. Over time, though, you’ll need to lessen the intensity. This way, you won’t overdo it later on in your pregnancy journey. Listen carefully to any and all instructions and concerns your doctor has when it comes to restrictions and limitations. If your doctor doesn’t okay a certain type of exercise, it’s better to avoid that until he or she thinks it’s safe.
Most days, you should be able to exercise for 30 minutes without complications. Just be sure that you begin with easy to moderate routines and build gradually. You don’t want to do too much too quickly or you could risk hurting yourself and causing injury to the baby.
Types of Approved Exercises for Pregnancy
Here are some suggestions as to what you can be doing for exercise:
- Cycling (indoor or outdoor)
- Muscle strengthening exercises – pelvic floor exercises, light weights, band work
- Other aerobics exercises – water aerobics, dancing, anything low impact
- Other pregnancy classes
However, whatever activities you choose to do, make sure you are eating and drinking enough food and water. Always listen to your body. If it’s tired, rest. If you feel you can do more, do more. But don’t overdo it. Take any questions or concerns you have to your doctor, especially if you experience any discomfort exercising during your unplanned pregnancy.
Another type of exercise that is beneficial while pregnant is practicing breathing techniques. Patterned breathing is a great way to relax your body, be in control and prepare for better labor and delivery. You can practice patterned breathing in your car, while you’re doing chores or in class.
Going for a walk is another way to incorporate patterned breathing. This combination allows your lungs, heart, ankles and hips to get a healthy workout, which helps everything remain flexible and stress-free as your body changes.
You are more likely to stick with a consistent exercise regimen if you actually like what you are doing. Consider these tips:
- Start with baby steps. You don’t need to join a gym or buy all of the Lululemon workout gear to exercise.
- Bring movement to your body. Bring daily forms of movement to your body, whether that is walking, stretching, dancing or other small movements.
- Find a friend. You are likely to stay motivated and committed if you have someone alongside you, so ask a friend or family member to exercise with you.
- Try something new. Many gyms, hospitals, community centers and pre/post-natal-mom communities offer classes. Find something that sparks your interest.
Where Can You Find Pregnancy Exercise Classes?
It’s not always easy to find suitable classes or instructors while you are pregnant, so here is a list of good places to start:
- Ask your midwife, primary doctor or your prenatal clinic.
- Join Facebook groups or online forums specifically for people exercising and pregnant.
- Request a referral at your usual class or gym.
- Contact your local community centers or communities based around pre/postnatal.
Make sure you inform your instructors about your unplanned pregnancy, including any complications or medical conditions. If you join classes that are not pregnancy-specific, ask the instructor(s) if they are able to advise you on any exercises that you shouldn’t do or any modifications you should make. If they are unable to provide these things, find a different class or instructor that is a better fit
What You Should Be Avoiding
While most things are relatively safe to do, there are exercises that you should avoid to lessen the risk or injury, discomfort or complications.
- Avoid raising your body temperature or your heart rate to extremes.
- Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion.
- Avoid heavyweights.
- Perform controlled stretching and avoid overextending.
- Don’t exercise if you have any illness or complications.
- Avoid any exercises that increase abdominal trauma or twisting — wide squats or lunges.
- Avoid any form of contact or competition sports, such as martial arts, soccer or basketball.
- Avoid hard projectile objects or striking implements, such as hockey, cricket or softball.
- Avoid activities that may cause you to fall, such as downhill skiing, horse riding and skating.
- Do not do extreme balance, coordination and agility activities such as gymnastics.
- Don’t engage in activities or exercises that have drastic changes in pressure or altitude – scuba diving or training over 2000m.
- Do not do anything that involves the supine exercise position (lying on your back) – the weight of the baby can slow the return of blood to the heart; some of these exercises can be modified by lying on your side.
Resources If You Need Help
- Your doctor
- Office of Women’s Health 1-800-994-9662
- Planned Parenthood
Overall, exercising during your unplanned pregnancy is still safe to do within reason, as long as you are aware of your limitations and restrictions as your pregnancy progresses. It is not only something that is beneficial to you and your baby, but also your pregnancy as well.
Stay tuned, for the next part of the series that discusses the benefits of exercising while you are pregnant.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
About the Author
Taylor Tsakopulos, the bestselling student. She has interned locally in Denver and internationally in Dublin, Ireland, taken classes/workshops and worked odd jobs and yet always comes back to being a student and the desire to learn or create.
She is a jack of all trades (i.e. a Gemini). She is a Denver-based writer, creator, artist and student. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU).
When she isn’t creating content she’s off dancing and hiking. Always chasing after new things and experiences. After living and working in Europe, she is hungry for more.