I know a couple of people who stopped exercising completely when they found out they were pregnant for fear that it would harm the baby. From what I've learned as long as you safely adjust your workouts you can and should work out throughout your entire pregnancy.
I will tell you this, I was so tired in my first trimester walking to the end of the block was not happening. Once I got into my second trimester and my energy came back a bit more I try to walk when I can, though I'm slower than usual and I do pregnancy specific stretches and exercises.
If you're a person who works out really hard all the time you will need to ease off, but don't stop compeletly. If you don't work out at all you shouldn't jump right into a workout, but maybe ease your way into it with simple stretches and walking.
Regular exercise can help with so many pregnancy discomforts. Not only will it help keep you from gaining too much weight, but it will also help you cope with that pesky back and leg pain. It can also relieve stress and build more stamina which you will need for labor and delivery.
When working out you want to make sure you're closely monitoring your heartbeat. You don't want your heartbeat to exceed 140 beats per minute. When I was working out before my target heartrate was 154. You need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water because the more you sweat the more you need to replace that water. You also need to make sure you're not overheating. Do not workout outside in the summer. Make sure you wear lose fitting clothing and that you're in a cool area.
I have asthma so that's another thing I have to contend with when working out. Usually it's not a problem, but since getting pregnant I've had a little harder time breathing which is a common problem during pregnancy. Yoga and palates are great exercise for me because it forces me to concentrate on my breathing. There are certain poses that are off limits though like anything that requires me to lay on my back. I love using my exercise ball during workouts and for stretching.
Swimming is a great exercise for pregnant women because it's so easy on your joints and a great cardio workout. Plus you get to stay cool in the water.
Some exercises that should be avoided:
- Holding your breath during any activity.
- Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding).
- Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball.
- Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
- Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
- Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
- Bouncing while stretching.
- Waist-twisting movements while standing.
- Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
- Exercise in hot, humid weather.