Safe Movement During Pregnancy
Moving your body during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. However, it’s important to practice safe movement. Figuring out what movement is safe can be confusing. Because of this, we’re here to help by providing tips about safe movement during pregnancy. Read on to learn more.
Benefits of Movement During Pregnancy
There are many benefits of movement during pregnancy. For example, some of the benefits include (1,2):
- Improving your mood
- Boosting your energy level (for more information head to our blog Tips for Improving Energy During Pregnancy)
- Reducing stress
- Promoting relaxation
- Helping you get a better sleep
- Increasing strength and muscle tone
- Possibly reducing labour time
- Improving recovery after labour and delivery
With this in mind, you should only practice movement during pregnancy if it’s safe for you.
Guidelines for Movement During Pregnancy
Before you begin movement, you should talk to your healthcare provider (1,2). If you have not been active before, it’s important to start slow. For example, you may want to start with walking.
On the other hand, if you were active prior to pregnancy, you can likely continue your routine (2). However, you may need to adjust for safety. Ultimately, it’s important to listen to your body. This means, doing what feels comfortable for you.
Here are some general guidelines for safe movement during pregnancy (2):
- Start small – even 5 minutes per day
- Gradually increase to 30 minutes per day
- Talk to your healthcare provider before starting new movement
- Don’t push yourself too hard
- Drink lots of water (your needs will increase when you sweat. For more information head to our blog post What are my Fluid Requirements During Pregnancy?
- Avoid movement outdoors on hot or humid days
When to Avoid Movement During Pregnancy
Although safe movement during pregnancy is good for you and your baby, there are times when it’s not recommended. Notably, it may be suggested to avoid movement if you have any of the following (1,2):
- High blood pressure
- Some heart or lung diseases
- Consistent vaginal bleeding (during the second or third trimester)
- Placental issues
- Cervical problems
- Severe anaemia (low iron, folate, or B12)
- At risk of preterm labour
- Pregnant with multiples
With this in mind, it’s very important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any movements (1,2).
Safe Movement During Pregnancy
You may be wondering, “what are some safe movements to do during pregnancy?” To help you, here are some examples (3,4):
- Indoor biking
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Prenatal yoga
As mentioned, movement is beneficial for you and your baby. However, if you begin to experience bleeding, pain, dizziness, extreme tiredness, swelling, or contractions, you should take a break (1,2). Following any of these symptoms, you should check-in with your healthcare provider.
Movement to Avoid During Pregnancy
Although there are many safe types of movement during pregnancy, there are some that should be avoided. In particular, you should stay away from movements that can cause fall or injury. This can include (3,4):
- Team sports (hockey, soccer, basketball)
- Horseback riding
- Downhill skiing
- Martial arts
- Scuba diving
- Hot yoga
- Heavy lifting
- Abdominal crunches or sit ups
Final Notes from The Nest
Overall, moving your body during pregnancy can be good for you and your baby. There are many benefits associated with movement. However, before you start moving your body, you should consult your healthcare provider. In all, it’s most important to practice safe movement that you’re comfortable with. If you would like more information about safe movement during pregnancy, book a call with a Registered Dietitian from The Nest.
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- Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Arizona: Mayo foundation for medical education and research; c2022 [updated 2021 Mar 12; cited 2022 Mar 17]. Pregnancy week by week: Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let’s move!. [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896
- Government of Canada. Physical activity during pregnancy [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2019 [cited 2022 Mar 17]. 2 p. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/pregnancy/physical-activity.html
- Ontario Prenatal Education [Internet]. Toronto: Best start: Ontario’s maternal newborn and early child development resource centre; c2019 [updated 2019; cited 2022 Mar 17]. Prenatal education: Key message for Ontario: Active living. [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.ontarioprenataleducation.ca/active-living/?target=key-messages
- Arena B, Maffulli N. Exercise in pregnancy: How safe is it?. Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2002;10(1):15-22.