Exercise during pregnancy: Safety tips for mom and baby

With a growing belly and extra strain on your knees and ankles, exercise might be the last thing on...

With a growing belly and extra strain on your knees and ankles, exercise might be the last thing on your "to-do" list. But exercise during pregnancy is both beneficial to you and your unborn baby. Staying active reduces your risk of gestational diabetes, lowers your blood pressure and keeps the placenta healthy.

How to exercise safely
Before starting any exercise routine during your pregnancy, get the go-ahead from your OBGYN doctor. If this isn't your first baby, and you had pre-term labor or were on bed rest for a large portion of your last pregnancy, your ability to exercise will be limited. Your physician can help determine what exercises will be safe for you.

After being given a clean bill of health, most pregnant women can endure 30 minutes of daily exercise. Walking, swimming, cycling on a stationary bike, stretching and light weight-bearing exercises are generally safe for mothers-to-be, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When to see the doctor
The key to exercise during pregnancy is taking it slow and not overexerting your body. If you can't talk without gasping while you exercise, you're pushing yourself too hard. Also, you shouldn't feel any abdominal or pelvic pain while exercising.

If you notice spotting, a fever, dizziness or cramping, it's time to call an OBGYN in Atlanta for a through examination. Then, relax and lie down. Do some deep breathing and pay attention to your baby's movements so you can explain them to the doctor. It's best to have a friend or family member drive you to the appointment.

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