You’ve heard the phrase “healthy mind, healthy body.” You might wonder how you’re going to reach that healthy body. Health gurus and fitness experts have all encouraged us to maintain an active lifestyle in order to stay balanced and happy. Unfortunately, for many of us, a good exercise routine is hard to incorporate into daily life when facing an unplanned pregnancy. That’s about to change.

During pregnancy, an active lifestyle is crucial in keeping you and your unborn baby healthy. It may seem dangerous to move around too much while pregnant, however, appropriate exercises will ensure that you have the safest pregnancy possible.

The information below is to give an overview of how to exercise when you’re expecting. Keep in mind that not all pregnancies are the same. We highly recommend talking to your healthcare provider or pediatrician before starting anything. At Adoption Choices of New York, we know that this pregnancy isn’t what you planned. But don’t worry; you’re not alone. Take our hand, and we’ll walk through this together.

Why Exercise?

One of the major benefits of exercising while pregnant is that it reduces health issues and delivery complications. For example, in a study done in 2017 by The International Weight Management in Pregnancy Collaborative Group, pregnant women who were involved in fitness programs had a lower chance of developing gestational diabetes and were more likely to have a smoother, natural delivery.

Because this pregnancy was not planned, you may be going through intense stress, which is unhealthy for both you and your unborn child. When you exercise, though, your brain releases endorphins, a chemical that helps fight against symptoms of depression and stress. Exercise also helps manage the surplus of emotions you experience while pregnant. After birth, those same activities help prepare your body for the long recovery process.

With your doctor’s approval, start exercising as soon as you can. That way, you can build up your stamina.

How to Exercise When You’re Expecting

As we’ve mentioned above, not all pregnancies are the same. So, it’s important to create an exercise routine that’s tailored specifically to your body and your medical history. In general, it is best that you keep the routine simple. This way, your body won’t exude a ton of sweat and cause you to become dehydrated. Here are some low-impact exercises.

Walking

You probably wouldn’t think of walking as an exercise, but it is the simplest way to work out your body. It won’t strain your muscles or joints, which makes it the perfect place to start if you are new to exercising in general. When you are first starting out, have a 15-minute walk a few days a week and build up to 30-minute sessions. Make sure you stay on even terrains so you don’t risk falling and hurting the baby. A total of 150 minutes per week of walking is highly recommended by doctors.

Jogging 

A step up from walking would be jogging. You need to be careful though, because, during pregnancy, uneven weight distribution can make running dangerous. As always, remember to stay hydrated. Water has numerous health benefits to keep your body happy, including delivering oxygen to your blood during exercise. To read more about what you should eat during pregnancy, check out our blog What to Eat When You’re Expecting for more information.

Stationary cycling

Riding a stationary bike is arguably safer than a regular bike. Even with your belly growing, you don’t have to worry about falling off a stationary object. However, do make sure to take a lot of caution. Set the bike somewhere in your house that your spouse or friend can reach you easily in case of an emergency. Also, do not wear anything tight while riding a stationary bike as this might cause you to have trouble breathing.

Yoga and Pilates

The purpose of yoga and Pilates is to create harmony within the body. These exercises are designed to de-stress and detox both the body and mind. On a physical level, both types of exercises can help with stretching, flexibility and muscle development, everything needed for a safe delivery. Don’t participate in moves that you believe might hurt your body.

You can start with light stretches then eventually work up to core and leg workouts, breathing exercises, and strengthening your pelvic floor. It is recommended that you have at least two yoga/Pilates sessions during the week with one day of rest in between. Some yoga studios have classes specifically for pregnant women, so it’s worth a shot to ask around. That is, if you’re wanting to exercise with other expectant mothers.

Swimming

Because water helps support the extra weight, especially during the third trimester, swimming is a good exercise while pregnant. It’s okay for pregnant women to stay in heated pools that are around 86 F so that they don’t overheat. Doctors may suggest that you start with a short session and eventually build to 30-minute long sessions. Don’t get in right away with your whole body. Instead, introduce your arms or legs first so that you can prepare the rest of your body.

You can choose any stroking exercise that you feel comfortable with, but try to have a variety rather than sticking to one move. Lay on your back, wiggle your feet a little, and keep your heartbeat up.

How to NOT Exercise When You’re Expecting

As we have talked about what exercise is good for your body during pregnancy, we should also discuss what you shouldn’t participate in. Activities involving a lot of bouncing or movement and ones that can lead to falling or other injuries, are obvious activities to steer clear of. For example – gymnastics, horseback riding, and skating. Other exercises to keep out of your routine are any that can potentially hurt your belly, such as soccer or boxing.

An important tip is to keep your body temperature low. So, avoid activities that raise your temperature. Examples of these are hot yoga and exercising outside on a hot day.

What to Expect

Keeping your body healthy is a treacherous task, especially when you are pregnant and especially when that pregnancy isn’t planned. Take a deep breath and exhale. You are not alone on this journey. Remember to take care of your and your unborn baby’s health. There’s only one of you, and there will only ever be one of them in this world.

Adoption Choices of New York

For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Lisa Truong

Lisa Truong is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Denver. She is minoring in writing and Chemistry. She has been commended by professors for her news stories as well as creative writing.

During her freshman year, her essay “See Ya on the Other Side” was displayed at a writing exhibition sponsored by the University of Denver. That essay later went on to be published in Many Voices One DU, a book also sponsored by the university.

Lisa frequently volunteers to be a leader at the Daniels School of Business for their quarterly Ethics Boot Camp where students learn about the importance of character in business. In her free time, Lisa enjoys watching animated movies with her mother, listening to music, going for bike rides, and eating breakfast food.

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Sources:

“Exercise during Pregnancy.” March of Dimes. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/exercise-during-pregnancy.aspx.

“Is It OK to Swim during Pregnancy?” BabyCentre UK. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x4323/is-it-ok-to-swim-during-pregnancy.

“Your Guide to Healthy Exercise During Pregnancy.” Unplanned Pregnancy. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://unplannedpregnancy.com/pregnancy-health/healthy-lifestyle/exercise-during-pregnancy/.

“{{Meta.og.title}}.” Pregnancy Birth and Baby. Accessed January 31, 2020. https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/yoga-and-pilates-during-pregnancy.

We are not shutting down during this difficult time! We are fully devoted and available to all pregnant women and birth parents that are looking at adoption as an option. We will also continue to work with prospective adoptive parents who are already a part of our program. If you are a prospective adoptive parent hoping to apply to our program, please check back in with us in a few weeks. We will resume normal operations and begin accepting applications as soon as possible.

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