Staying Fit During Pregnancy
Your body will go through a great deal of change as your baby grows. Here are some things you can do to make sure you feel your best and to avoid some of the discomforts that sometimes occur.
Pay attention to posture
As the weight in the front of your body increases, it will be important to pay attention to your posture. This will help prevent backaches and fatigue. Remind yourself as often as possible to sit or stand correctly. Don't sit slumped with legs crossed. Sit in a firm chair for support. When you are standing, make sure your weight is even on both feet. If you need to stand for a period of time, try to put one foot on a small stool or put one foot slightly forward. Change your position often. Stand with shoulders back, chest lifted, chin tucked, knees slightly bent, and feet apart.
Be aware of changes in balance
You also may find that the changes in weight make you feel awkward or even clumsy. If so, you are not alone. Accidents such as slips and falls are common in pregnancy. This is because the new weight in your belly changes your body's center of gravity. Although you will naturally make adjustments in how you move in order to stay balanced, be aware that your sense of balance is changing. Be careful going up and down stairs or walking on slippery surfaces. And be sure to wear only low-heeled shoes.
Get regular exercise
If you've been working out regularly for a long while, there is usually no need to stop during pregnancy. Talk with your obstetric provider about the kind of
exercise you may do, and about what level of exertion is okay for you. You should not exercise to the point where you become exhausted.
If you haven't been active before pregnancy, now is not the time to begin a vigorous exercise program. But there are safe, easy exercises you can do to help you feel better and maintain your health and stamina. Walking and swimming, for example, can be done throughout most of your pregnancy, even if you are not used to exercising. Start slowly and work at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Strengthen your pelvic floor
The pelvic floor refers to the muscles in your genital area. It includes the muscles around your vagina, urethra (urinary opening), and anus (bowel
opening). Doing exercises, called Kegels, to strengthen these muscles helps support the area under the weight of your baby. Doing Kegels may help you keep control of your bladder during and after pregnancy, and can also help prepare you for labor.
Download our full guide for more information »
This material was prepared by clinicians from the departments of nursing, obstetrics and gynecology, physical therapy, and nutrition at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.