To help you out, I've put together a little "cheat sheet" on some of the Basic Exercise Guidelines for Pregnancy:
1. Get the OK
As always, make sure to get your doctor's okay BEFORE you begin your exercise routine - that way he/she can rule out any high-risk situations.
2. Stick to what you know!
I know you hear this all the time, but now I really need you to think about it. Because there are so many changes going on in your body NOW is NOT the time to start something new.
3. Use common sense when you're trying to decide whether to continue your pre-pregnancy exercise workout or not.
Because I can't answer each one of you individually (and there are SO MANY different exercise routines and intensities out there!), here are my suggestions:
- Avoid running long distances and training for marathons, they are too intense for this time in your life. Moderate your activity by slowing down the intensity and duration and you should be fine.
- Avoid training in intense heat, on steep inclines or at high altitudes. Choose even terrain and stick to public places (you've got way too much to risk!!).
- Avoid sports like basketball, squash, racquetball and tennis - they involve too many jerky movements and rapid changes in direction, which is too much for your loose joints and poor balance to deal with.
4. When it comes to weight training - aim for endurance over strength (preferably 15 reps.).
Concentrate on maintaining your existing strength, not building. As your pregnancy progresses, really listen to your body and do ONLY what exercises you feel are comfortable - do NOT push yourself.
Do not do any pregnancy exercises that require you to lift overhead, lie on your back or press a lot of weight forward (i.e. leg press machine).
Aim to do the majority of your exercises in a supported position, preferably sitting down or holding on to something stable - avoid lying on your back AFTER your third month.
5. Regardless of which workout you're doing, ALWAYS ensure that you are well hydrated and fueled.
Never exercise on an empty stomach or without water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. And if you need a little extra boost, try adding a little fruit juice. And of course, stay close to the bathroom.
Just follow these basic guidelines (plus more in my book) and your pregnancy exercise will be safe. Remember, pregnancy is NOT the time to push yourself that EXTRA MILE - you don't want to look back with regret!
For LOTS more information on which specific exercises and stretches you can SAFELY do during pregnancy (including 3 tailored exercise programs), as well as how to prepare for a quick post-partum weight loss, an easy labor and a quick recovery, read my kit at... PregnancyWithoutPounds.com.