Dr. Szmuc encourages women to exercise during pregnancy and discusses safe exercises women can engage in.
It is safe to exercise in pregnancy and I do encourage all my patients to exercise. First off I see many patients who do not exercise at all when they come in and we go over what their activity levels are.
If you are not doing anything I encourage highly to walk 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week with some tennis shoes on that’s comfortable and a safe area with a partner.
If it’s hot like here in Phoenix in summer, go to the mall, you can do laps. Afterwards you can spend money and stimulate the economy. If you like to swim, bike, all those things would be great options.
If you are a marathon runner, I see many women who come in, who do lots of exercise, the standard is to keep your pulse under 140 beats a minute. If you go over that on a regular basis that may decrease the blood flow to your baby and end up with a smaller baby. So we do not like that.
There’s questions I get about weightlifting and strength training and I do encourage that also and it is recommended in pregnancy. However, your joints loosen up in pregnancy so you don’t want to do heavy weights. You want to do light weights and a lot of reps so you don’t tear your joints up.
It is safe to do sit-ups in the first half of pregnancy and I encourage that. The second half of pregnancy, we don’t like women to lie on their backs for any longer length of time because it can decrease the blood flow to your baby and uterus. So sit-ups in the second half of pregnancy should be avoided.
Any strength training is great, as long as it’s well-balanced and you are strengthening your low back as well as your abdominal muscles. So if you can do machines that’s about the only way you can really strengthen your lower back, that would be great.
Yoga, Pilates is okay. If you feel any tension, any pain that means those movements should be avoided.
So yes, it is great to exercise in pregnancy. It will make the third trimester and labor and delivery much easier. Now, if there are medical problems in your pregnancy you will need to consult your physician and your activity levels may need to be altered.
About Dr. Edward D. Szmuc, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.:
Dr. Edward D. Szmuc, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is board certified with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Banner Desert Medical Center in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Szmuc earned his M.D. from the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo and completed his residency at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts.