There are many benefits to working out regularly to maintain a healthy pregnancy, but did you know it can also have a positive impact on your labor and delivery? Some studies have found that staying active throughout pregnancy can actually shorten labor times. A higher fitness level is also helpful as you will need that endurance and strength during the labor and delivery process. During the first and second trimester, you should be able to continue with any exercise that you were doing prior to becoming pregnant including running, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, etc. If you are feeling fatigued, having back or pelvic pain, nausea/vomiting, or any other pregnancy-related symptoms, it is always best to listen to your body and modify the exercise as needed. A women’s health physical therapist can be a great resource during this time to help you address any pain during your pregnancy so you can stay as active as possible.
During the last trimester of pregnancy you will more than likely need to start modifying exercise and opt for more low-impact activities. If you have been lifting weights you will likely need to decrease the amount of weight you are using. Running and jumping might need to be put on pause until after baby gets here as the increased pressure of your growing baby on your pelvis can make these activities difficult. Watch for symptoms such as pelvic heaviness, leaking urine, back/hip/pelvic pain, and abdominal doming/coning while doing a specific exercise. These are all signs that we likely need to retire or modify an exercise for the remainder of the pregnancy. With that being said, every patient that I have seen during pregnancy is unique and is going into their pregnancy at different levels of fitness. This means that what might work for one person, doesn’t for the next. If you aren’t sure how to navigate exercise safely during pregnancy, it is best to work with your doctor and a women’s health physical therapist!