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Safety of Exercise during Pregnancy

Is exercise safe during pregnancy

If the pregnancy is progressing normally, the answer is yes.  Continuing any sport or mild form of exercise should not be a problem, as long as it is done in moderation. In fact, moderate exercise is good for you as well as the baby.  As long as you do not overstrain yourself, exercise can be a physically and emotionally satisfying and safe experience.  It serves to increase energy levels and alleviates problems like leg cramps, backaches, constipation and breathlessness and prepares you for labour.  It will also help in keeping you in a perfect state of health.  But before you hit the track, do get a medical clearance from your doctor, since he is most informed about your condition.  If you are in a high-risk category, he will certainly restrict your movements.

Can exercises cause any harm to the baby (Dr. Rita Shah)

Many exercises are not safe during pregnancy.  Before undertaking any rigorous exercise, make sure that they do not put excessive strain on the uterine muscles.  Exercises conducted in the childbirth/Lamaze classes are specially planned to suit the pregnant mother.

What kind of exercises should one totally avoid

Any exercise that involves lifting weights or imposes excessive physical exertion, such as horse riding, skiing, skin diving, and backpacking, should be completely avoided.  Jogging is very hard on the spine, pelvis, hips, knees, breasts and back and should also be avoided.  Exercises that pull your abdominal muscles, like leg lifts and sit-ups, are also not advisable during pregnancy.  Further, do not try your hand at any new sport once you get pregnant; your body needs time to adjust to new movements.

After the 4th month, do not exercise while lying flat on your back, as the weight of your uterus can compress major blood vessels, and restrict circulation.  Pointing or extending your toes can also lead to cramping; it is better to flex your feet instead. 

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