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Pregnancy Exercise Safety Tips

Pregnancy Exercise Safety TipsAvoid injury or overexertion with mild to moderate exercise. Staying fit during pregnancy is an important part of feeling your best. If yours is a low-risk pregnancy, and your doctor approves, you can continue to exercise and derive health benefits even from mild-to-moderate exercise routines. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends following these guidelines to ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.

Stay consistent Exercise regularly (at least three times a week) -- not intermittently. Exercising three days a week is a good routine. Keep your exercise regimen in the mild-to-moderate range.

Easy does it Avoid activities that require jumping motions or sudden changes in direction because these may strain your joints and injure you.

Watch your back Don't exercise on your back after the first trimester. Also, avoid prolonged periods of motionless standing. Both actions can reduce blood flow to the uterus.

Don't overexert yourself Be aware that you have less oxygen available for exercise. Stop exercising when you become fatigued, and don't exercise to the point of exhaustion.

Keep your balance Avoid exercises that could cause a quick loss of balance or mild trauma to the abdomen.

Eat a good diet Be sure you eat an adequate diet that allows you to gain 25 to 35 pounds over the nine months. Most pregnant women require an additional 300 calories a day. If you exercise regularly, you will probably require more. Include plenty of carbohydrates in your diet, as pregnant women use up this fuel source more quickly during exercise than nonpregnant women.

Drink up! Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and prevent overheating. Water is essential for virtually every function of the body. The average person needs eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Drink with meals, as well as before, during and after exercise. During exercise, cold water is more readily absorbed.

Get comfortable Wear comfortable, cool, and supportive clothing in layers that can be easily removed. Wear a bra that fits properly and supports your breasts.

Keep cool Be mindful not to become overheated, especially in the first trimester. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, overheating, especially in the first trimester, may be a contributing factor to the development of birth defects. Drink plenty of fluids before and during exercise, wear layers of "breathable" clothing, don't exercise on hot, humid days, and don't immerse yourself in a hot tub or sauna.

Avoid certain sports According to the Mayo Clinic, you'll want to avoid certain sports altogether while you're pregnant. These include activities at high altitudes and those that are associated with a risk of falling or colliding with another participant, such as horseback riding, climbing, and snow and water skiing. Also, avoid scuba diving because there's a risk that your oxygen intake could be compromised, and diving can put pressure on your organs and baby.