If you sit by your television long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll run across an ad for the biggest, and the best exercise program. Something sure to get you ripped and strong in thirty days, rip your booty or stretch your body in ways you never thought it could.  And while those programs are fine for some people, you may need to use a little caution if you’re pregnant.

Truthfully, if you have been exercising and active before your pregnancy, you’re fine to continue. And even better news—if you’ve been better friends with your pint of Ben and Jerry’s than you have your running shoes, there’s still time to start and have a healthy pregnancy but here are a few things to remember:

  • Cardiovascular exercises are fine and good for you, just keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute to ensure that the baby gets all the blood he or she needs and that it’s properly oxygenated.
  • Don’t get too hot. Elevated temperatures in the first trimester (higher than 103 degrees) has been linked to birth defects, so take it easy, drink plenty of water and avoid working out in the heat of the day.
  • Keep your balance. Growing bellies can change a woman’s center of gravity making it easier to fall. Some exercise routines with  lots of spinning and jumping (hello kickboxing and step aerobics) should be done with caution.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are interested in starting a new type of exercise you haven’t done before to make sure it’s okay.

The best exercises for moms-to-be include:

  • Swimming.  Maybe one of the safest exercises for pregnant women, swimming is great for your heart health and supports the joints (and big belly).  Your chance of overheating is also less. Just avoid water skiing or any sport that could trigger a fall and impact with the water’s hard surface.
  • Walking. Also low impact, make sure to start slowly, stretch first and wear good shoes. Drink plenty of water and if the weather is hot, try to walk in the early morning or evenings, or inside on a treadmill.
  • Yoga. Known for its ability to stretch muscles and reduce stress, you can look for a pregnancy-focused yoga class or take a regular one, just make sure it’s not too strenuous. No hot yoga right now either.
  • Running and jogging. Yes, you can run. If you’ve been a runner or jogger before your pregnancy, there’s no reason you can’t continue provided that you take the safety measures mentioned above and slow it down if your growing belly makes you wobbly. (And it eventually will.)

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