Women's Health Texas – Austin

Exercising During Pregnancy

30 minutes of exercise several times each week benefits most pregnant women

Many common forms of exercise—walking, swimming, aerobics and cycling—can help women stay fit during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, your Women’s Health Texas Austin OBGYN will talk with you about the changes that are happening to your body, pregnancy fitness, and exercising during pregnancy.

Pregnancy hormones cause looser ligaments, making them more mobile and more prone to injury. In your third trimester, your center of gravity will shift as you gain more body weight up front, which can cause balance problems and back pain.

The extra weight you carry during pregnancy may also cause you to need to work harder while exercising during pregnancy, but you can make modifications that will help you stay healthy. Your Austin OBGYN will be there with you at every stage of your pregnancy to talk with you about your exercise regimen.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has identified several benefits to exercising during pregnancy.

  • Exercise may improve everything from your mood and energy levels to your posture and quality of sleep.
  • Studies have shown that exercise may help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
  • Women benefit throughout pregnancy and delivery if they exercise to stay fit and healthy, as well as to improve their muscle tone, endurance and strength.
  • Exercising during pregnancy can help reduce back pain, along with symptoms such as swelling, bloating and constipation.

Safely exercising during pregnancy

If you are already exercising regularly, you usually can continue with your routine. If you haven’t exercised before your pregnancy, your Austin OBGYN will still help you develop a pregnancy fitness plan that allows you to safely start exercise when pregnant. Here are a few tips:

  • Contact sports, such as soccer, hockey and basketball, are best avoided during pregnancy.
  • High-risk activities, such as most forms of skiing, are not recommended.
  • Women who weight train should talk to an Austin OBGYN about modifying the routine—lifting lighter weights and performing more reps, while avoiding moves like squat thrusts.
  • After the first trimester, avoid exercises such as crunches or leg lifts that require you to lie flat on your back.
  • Remember to stay hydrated, and avoid exercising outside in extremely hot weather.

Your Women’s Health Texas OBGYN is happy to talk with you in more detail about safely exercising during pregnancy.

Signs that you should call your doctor

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should stop exercising right away and call your Austin OBGYN.

  • Spotting or bleeding
  • Feeling dizzy or faint, or experiencing a headache
  • Chest pains
  • Weakness in your muscles
  • Increasing or unusual shortness of breath
  • Swelling or pain in your calves
  • Contractions or leaking vaginal fluid
  • Noticing less movement from the fetus

The safety and health of mother and baby are paramount to every Women’s Health Texas physician. Contact us to learn more about exercising during pregnancy and pregnancy fitness.