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Learn ways to stay active and exercise safely during pregnancy.

It has been shown that exercise during pregnancy reduces the incidence of backache and swelling. Furthermore, women who are active throughout their pregnancy generally enjoy higher levels of energy, give birth to healthier babies, and recover faster from delivery.

Points to Consider:

  • Speak with your doctor and obtain his permission before beginning a prenatal exercise routine.
  • Try to exercise regularly - 3 or more times per week
  • Drink plenty of water before and during exercise
  • Avoid exercising on your back or while holding your breath after the first trimester
  • Stay away from exercises that risk stomach injury or losing your balance
  • Keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute
  • Engage in low impact activity and avoid exercises that involve jerking or bouncing, and any contact sport

Monitor Your Nutrition

Take it easy; listen to your body and to your doctor. Talk to your doctor about choosing your exercise.

Walking

An ideal low impact activity, walking keeps you active, strengthens your muscles, and builds endurance.

Swimming/Water Aerobics

Offering many of the same benefits as walking, it gets the oxygen flowing to your baby and lowers your risk of developing pregnancy-related health conditions.

Squats and Wall Slides

They strengthen your legs and help open your pelvis so your baby can descend. Stand with your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back supported, bend your knees slowly, as if you are about to sit down. It helps to rest your hands just above your knees for balance. Just don't squat so deeply that your knees extend over your toes. Hold that semi-seated position for a few seconds, then slide back up. Repeat 3 to 5 times, building to 10 repetitions.

Pelvic Tilt

Great for making your stomach muscles stronger and your back muscles more flexible, pelvic tilts help to reduce backache and ease delivery. Get on your hands and knees, keeping your head level with your back. Pull in your stomach, pushing up with your back like you're making a camel hump. Hold it for a few seconds and then relax, without letting your stomach muscles sag. Repeat 3 to 5 times, building to 10 repetitions.

Kegel Exercises

hese strengthen your pelvic muscles. This comes in handy during delivery and for avoiding hemorrhoids and loss of bladder control. Pretend you're trying to stop yourself from urinating by tightening the muscles around the vagina and rectum. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 4 to 5 times in a row. You can even do Kegels while working at your desk or watching TV.

Tailor Sitting

These stretch the muscles in your inner thigh, back and pelvis, to help with delivery. Sit on the floor, bend your legs, and put the soles of your feet together. Let your knees relax and drop toward the floor. Then bring your feet close in to your body. If you're not that limber yet, just cross one leg in front of the other. Try sitting in this position a few times a day.