Dr. Dollinger: Pregnancy & Exercise

We’ve come a long way in understanding the best way for a woman to take care of herself during pregnancy. This doesn’t mean, however, that we are free from lots of conflicting advice. One of these controversial topics is exercising during pregnancy. There are old myths like: don’t raise your hands above your head (for fear of causing the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck) and don’t watch sporting events (because it may cause you to become too excited). But these are easily dismissed as unscientific extremes. But still, what about regular old exercise?

Doctors have a much better understanding of women’s health during pregnancy, and one of the things they have found is that women who have a higher level of fitness, good core strength, and a strong back have an easier time during pregnancy, in terms of back pain, and an easier time during labor and delivery. These women can also safely continue a level of physical activity and exercise during pregnancy that is close to their previous usual level. Of course, use common sense: no contact sports, no exercise that brings the heart rate up too high (it may redirect too much blood away from the fetus), no excessive exercise, and no scuba diving, rollerblading, or skiing. That said, there’s no reason not to continue your usual level of exercise almost to your delivery date, as long as it is the proper type (perhaps modified), the proper amount, and still feels good to you.

On the other hand, if you are not used to exercising regularly or only usually have a low level of physical activity, it is not a good idea to start up a new fitness regimen or take up a new sport when you are pregnant. The best advice for you is to continue at that level or simply take it easy.

Of course, always talk to your OB/GYN doctor about what he or she thinks is best and safest for you and your pregnancy. Arnot Health also offers childbirth & maternity classes, and you can learn more by following this link.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

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