Being physically active throughout your pregnancy will help you stay healthy and feel your best. At Allegheny Health Network, we understand that regular exercise can improve posture and decrease some of the common discomforts of pregnancy, such as backaches, constipation, bloating, and fatigue. And it can also help relieve stress, improve your sleep, and build the stamina you’ll need for labor and delivery. Research has also shown that exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
Here are some of Allegheny Health Network's suggested exercises and tips to help you focus on the importance of fitness for you and your baby during this exciting time.
Smart tips for safe fitness
Which exercises should be avoided?
Certain exercises can be harmful during pregnancy. They include:
- Holding your breath during any activity
- Contact sports (softball, football, volleyball)
- Sports where falling is likely (skiing, horseback riding, gymnastics)
- Extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing or running
- Deep knee bends, full sit-ups and double-leg raises
- Waist-twisting movements while standing
Moves to choose before your baby arrives
Getting back to fitness after your baby arrives
Ask your doctor when it's appropriate for you to return to your exercise program. Most women can safely perform a low-impact activity one to two weeks after a vaginal delivery (three to four weeks after a Cesarean birth). Exercise with caution. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Bright red vaginal bleeding
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Severe muscular discomfort
- Headaches, dizziness or nausea
- Feeling cold or clammy
- Irregular or rapid heart beat
- Sudden swelling of the ankles, face, hands or calves
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty walking
Pelvic floor health
Pregnancy may cause your pelvic floor muscles to loosen due to hormonal changes and your baby pressing on your bladder. Your pelvic floor may also be affected during labor. No matter how it happens, this may cause you to leak urine when you sneeze, cough, exercise, or even when you laugh — which is definitely not funny.
AHN has a team dedicated to pelvic therapy. We offer a wide array of treatment options to help you feel better and get back to your expected quality of life. Learn more about the AHN Pelvic Health Center or call (412) 854-7010 for the Pittsburgh region and (814) 899-7000 option 2 for the Erie region to schedule an appointment. We have locations across the region that are convenient to you.
Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN pregnancy and newborn services.