Exercise During Pregnancy- A good idea? How much is too much?

Exercise

 

Over the past several days we have learned of the announcement that Serena Williams is 20wks pregnant with her first child. This was even more newsworthy in the sense that this meant the 35 yr old won the 2017 Grand Slam while she was just weeks pregnant. You may wonder was this activity safe for her pregnancy? Shouldn’t she have taken it easy?

Is it Safe to Exercise?

While some view the pregnant state as a time for the mom-to-be to tread lightly and take in lots of rest, leading authorities in Obstetrical care agree that physical activity is not only beneficial, but encouraged for women with uncomplicated pregnancy.

What Type of Exercises Should I do?

What type of exercises you can perform while pregnant may also depend on your exercise history, overall health, and the risk of pregnancy complication. 

Bear in mind that the body does undergo physiological changes during pregnancy. Changes which help prepare the body and fetus for a successful childbirth. The increased size of the abdomen can affect center of gravity. Also expect increased heart rate, circulating blood volume, and the relaxation of pelvic ligaments.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) lists several recommended exercisesStrength Training

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Stationary Cycling
  • Low-Impact Aerobics
  • Modified Yoga/Pilates (Avoid laying flat on your back or motionless standing which may result in hypotension)
  • Running or Jogging
  • Strength Training
  • Racquet Sports

Activities to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Contact sports (ice hockey, boxing, soccer, basketball)
  • Activities with high risk of falling
  • Scuba diving
  • Sky diving
  • Hot yoga/Pilates

I am sure Serena Williams had a team of pregnancy experts at her side to ensure the safety of both mother and child.  So before you undertake any physical activity, you should consult with your Obstetric/healthcare provider about exercises for your specific situation.