Exercising during pregnancy used to be avoided due to the fear of causing harm to the baby. Research has found that this is typically not the case unless it is a high risk pregnancy. For this reason physician clearance is a must before engaging in activity. Once it is established that you are safe to exercise some things should be avoided. You should not perform any exercises that require you to lie on your stomach after the first trimester. Cardiac output increases during pregnancy so this should be kept in mind when using heart rate to monitor exercise. Heart rate can increase by as much as 20% during pregnancy. Another concern is falling or anything that has the potential to cause abdominal trauma. Some suggested exercises to avoid if not completely confident with are exercises like squats and lunges. Core exercises should be changed to low risk exercises that emphasize hip and core stabilization. These exercises can include:
- Laying on your back with opposite arm and leg raise
- Standing medicine ball rotations
- Kegal exercises
- Modified V-sit on bench or floor
- Seated bicycle
- Pelvic tilts in seating and standing
These exercises are considered safe but exercise should be terminated if symptoms such as dizziness, trouble breathing, headache, or related feminine pain are experienced. Exercising will result in improved labor and post-partum recovery.