The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or obstetric complication.
Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. It can also improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that it may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labour and delivery.
Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines
1. If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself. Consider a prenatal yoga class that is specifically designed for pregnant women.
2. Listen to your body. Your body will naturally give you signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise you are performing.
3. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen they need.
4. Wear comfortable exercise footwear that gives strong ankle and arch support.
5. Take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
6. Avoid exercising in extremely hot weather.
7. Avoid rocky terrain or unstable ground when running or cycling. Your joints are more lax in pregnancy, so ankle sprains and other injuries may occur.
8. Contact sports should be avoided during pregnancy.
9. Weight training should emphasize improving tone, especially in the upper body and abdominal area. Avoid lifting weights above your head and using weights that strain the lower back muscles.
10. During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to the uterus.
11. Include relaxation and stretching before and after your exercise program.
12. Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.