Summer is here, bringing forth a whole range of activities for the vigorous mom-to-be. While most summer activities are safe for pregnant women, there are some that deserve caution or should be avoided.
Swimming is a great way to tone your muscles and an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise in any season. Water aerobics increases muscle tone and provides great conditioning. Exercising in water minimizes back strain, prevents overheating, and reduces swelling.
Snorkeling is fine during pregnancy; however, scuba diving has risks. Also, water skiing and diving should be avoided.
You can actively participate in a sport that doesn't involve a risk of falling or impact to your belly. Low-intensity tennis and other racket sports may be continued if you're experienced. Biking can be continued if you can maintain a good sense of balance as your belly grows. Inline skating should only be continued if you are very experienced.
Keep in mind that your center of gravity shifts during pregnancy, and it becomes easier to fall. Also, during pregnancy your body produces a hormone relaxin which loosens your joints, making it easier to sustain injuries with sudden stops and starts.
Golf and bowling are safe during pregnancy, but they won't provide much of an aerobic workout.
A brisk walk is usually a terrific option and requires no more equipment that a sturdy pair of shoes and a water bottle. If you prefer jogging, maintain a moderate pace, drink plenty of liquids and rest when you're tired. (Wearing a pregnancy harness around your belly and a supportive sports bra makes jogging a bit more comfortable.)
Enjoyable fitness classes during pregnancy include Pilates (adjusted for pregnancy), low-impact aerobics, and traditional prenatal exercise classes Popular mind-body classes that can help with relaxation and stress reduction include yoga or tai chi.
Weight training is a good option for women who want to tone up using hand-held weights or machines. Enlist the assistance of a professional trainer to learn proper ways to use equipment. Remember to avoid lying flat on your back for prolonged periods of time. Finally, many women stay fit year 'round using aerobic machines such as elliptical trainers, cross-trainers or stationary bikes.
Activities to Avoid
Rock climbing, surfing, skydiving and horseback riding all entail a substantial risk of falling. High-intensity racket sports and team sports are inadvisable due to the possibility of impact from a stray ball or teammate. Roller coasters and bungee jumping are two other activities that should be avoided.
General Advice for Summer Activities
1. Get Permission First. Before engaging in high-energy activities, discuss your plan with a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
2. Wear comfortable clothes. Wear loose or stretchable clothing with natural fabrics that absorb sweat and remain comfortable while exercising. Choose a well-fitting bra with adequate support.
3. Take care of your feet. For sports, wear supportive, well-cushioned sneakers. Wear anti-slip footwear around a pool area.
4. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear generous amounts of sunscreen during outdoor activities.
5. Don't dehydrate. Always drink water before, during and after engaging in sports, and consume adequate calories to maintain your energy needs.
6. Listen to your body. If you develop pain, cramping, dizziness, nausea or headache when you're active, discontinue your activity.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.