Now that you’re pregnant, you may be wondering about how much, and what type, of exercise is right for you. Regular physical activity during pregnancy helps you gain the right amount of weight, strengthens your heart and lungs, boosts your mood, and may reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
According to the government’s physical activity guidelines, 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity is safe for healthy pregnant women, preferably spread out over five days during the week.
If you were relatively inactive before you conceived, start slowly and work up to the 150 minute-a-week goal. If you’re already there, keep going, and speak with your doctor about making adjustments in your activity as pregnancy progresses. You’ll tire more easily as your due date gets closer, so be aware that the aerobic activity you’ve been doing all along may be more of a challenge for you. Now is not the time to take up a strenuous sport, or one where you risk falling, abdominal injury, or pressure changes (no sky diving!) either.
If you’re just beginning to get more physical activity, try walking, or exercise programs tailored for pregnant women, such as yoga and strength training classes.
Examples of Moderate Intensity Aerobic Activities
• Walking briskly (3 miles an hour – 20 minutes per mile – or faster, but not race-walking)
• Water aerobics
• Bicycling slower than 10 miles – 6 minutes per mile- an hour (Use a stationary bike.)
• Ballroom and line dancing
• General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs, mowing the lawn )
• Using hand cyclers – also known as ergometers