Weatherproof Your Pregnancy Workout
“If an individual has a low-risk pregnancy, then being physically active will have benefits for both mother and baby,” says Michelle F. Mottola, PhD, director of the Exercise and Pregnancy Lab at Canada’s University of Western Ontario. “Women can reduce their risks of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, and being physically active can help give them the stamina they need to get through the hours of labor and birth.”
For you, the question isn’t whether to exercise; it’s how to exercise. Can you continue jogging? Are group exercise classes too intense for pregnant women? Is now a good time to try yoga? Are there days when you should move your fresh-air workout indoors?
“If you’re already proficient at something, you should be able to continue without a problem,” says American Council on Exercise spokeswoman Sabrena Merrill, a Lawrence, Kansas-based fitness expert. “Use discomfort and common sense as your guide. And to avoid falling, if it’s wet, slippery, or icy, don’t go outside to exercise.”
Here, experts outline safety guidelines for pregnancy workouts:
A Balancing Act
It’s easy to understand why you may feel clumsier than usual: “Pregnant women have an altered center of gravity, because the large abdomen shifts the weight forward,” says Scott G. Williams, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in St. Louis. “Some patients fall just going up and down the stairs in their houses.”
Giving Danger the Slip
No matter the season, when inclement weather hits your neighborhood, bring your daily walk or run indoors. It doesn’t matter whether the streets are slick from a spring shower, wet autumn leaves, or slushy snow — a fall on the pavement means that you’ll need to see your doctor to make sure you’re OK.
If you’re tired of walking the mall in the dead of winter, get creative.
“Walking stairs is a great workout, because as you get heavier, you’ll need stronger legs,” says Erin O’Brien, a prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist based in Pasadena, Calif., who created the Complete Pregnancy Fitness with Erin O’Brien exercise DVD. “Put on some rock-and-roll and walk up and down your stairs for 20 minutes, up until you’re 36 weeks pregnant.”