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Can Exercise During Pregnancy Harm Your Baby?

Aug 17, 2007
The following are some general exercise guidelines for you to keep in mind when you begin exercising. It's important that you read each carefully, to ensure that you keep you and your baby safe and get the most out of your exercise.

How much should I exercise?

The amount you should exercise depends entirely on your body, your health and your pregnancy. That being the case, you need to first discuss exercise with your health care provider before you engage in any exercise routine. This also includes pregnant women who were previously involved in an exercise routine before becoming pregnant.

The reason you need to talk to your doctor is because you may develop certain conditions that conflict with certain exercises. However, as a general rule, a healthy pregnant woman can engage in up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times per week (During your second and third trimester you should not exceed 5 sessions of exercise per week.) If when you are exercising you feel such things as shortness of breath, pain, or exhaustion, you should lower your exercise level.

In addition, you may find you will exercise less when you are in your third trimester, particularly your 9th month. This is normal as you will feel more fatigue as you near your delivery date.

Warming up and Cooling down

Warming up and cooling down is an important part of exercising. Warming up prepares your body for the workout. It warms up your muscles and joints to prevent injury occurring. It also slowly increases your heart rate, body temperature and blood flow, which helps to prepare your system for the intensity of the real workout. A general warm up can be anywhere from 5-10 minutes long, and can consist of various stretches or low key exercises such as walking.

Cooling down is a lot like warming up except that it is performed after your workout. Cooling down helps to slow your heart rate and helps reduce the amount of blood moving through your working muscles. Cooling down is usually only about 2 minutes in length and is generally a less intense version of the exercise you were doing. For instance, if you were power walking, your cool down could simply be a slower, normal walk.

What should I wear?

You should wear comfortable clothing and should dress appropriately for weather conditions if you are taking part in exercise or activities outside. Here is a list of things you should wear when appropriate for your exercise of choice:

1. Wear a good sports bra that will provide your breasts with support

2. Wear loose fitting cotton pants and t-shirt, or an exercise outfit that has been designed for pregnant woman. You will find that many athletic stores, both locally and on the internet, will cater to your needs.

3. Wear good running shoes that provide you with support and non-slip grip.

4. Wear a jacket, scarf, mitts, sun tan lotion, hat, or any other items to protect your body from whatever climate you are exercising in.


The following are some precautions you need to take when exercising:

1. Don't start an intense exercise without warming up first. Otherwise, you significantly increase the risk of injuring your joints and muscles.

2. Always cool down after you exercise. If you suddenly stop an intense work out, you will likely feel out of breath, experience heart palpitations and become nauseous as your heart rate plummets. This is not good for your baby.

3. Breathe deeply when you exercise. You should never stop breathing as you exercise. Your baby needs oxygen. Continuously denying your body more than a few seconds of air as you exercise could harm your baby.

4. Only perform exercises and engage in activities you are familiar with.

5. Stay cool. If it is warm outside, you should try exercising in the early morning or late evening. You need to make sure that you never become overheated.

6. Drink plenty of water. You should drink water before, during and after you exercise, regardless if you feel thirsty or not. Water is what keeps you hydrated.

7. You should not exercise more than 30 minutes at your target heart rate when you are pregnant.

8. Monitor your heart rate. If your heart rate is elevated, so is your baby's. You shouldn't let your heart rate exceed 140 bpm (beats per minute). If you can't catch your breath try to lower your level of exercise. If this isn't working, stop exercising altogether.
About the Author
For more great advice to help you have a fun, safe and enjoyable pregnancy, visit http://www.mommy-mommy.com. The place to find fun baby names, and new baby advice.
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