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Regular exercise, with the approval of your healthcare provider or midwife, can often help to reduce the physical discomforts of pregnancy and help with recovery after your baby is born.

Follow our guidelines to protect yourself and your baby:

  • If you have not been a regular exerciser before now, do not jump into a program. Take it slow, but get yourself moving. Walking and swimming are safe and pleasant.
  • If you had an exercise routine for at least 6 months before you became pregnant, you know what your body can do. A woman who has run the same distance 3 times a week can maintain her routine. Low-impact aerobics, jogging, swimming and stationary biking are all good choices. They are within the safe limits we set for most of our patients.

Guidelines for all mothers

  • Stretch and warm up before you exercise.
  • Maintain or decrease intensity in the later months of pregnancy.
  • Exercise during the coolest part of the day during the summer.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Vary what you do to avoid boredom and use other muscle groups.
  • Wear good shoes that support your ankles and arches.
  • After your 12th week, do not do exercises that require you to lie on your back.
  • Cool down for at least 10 minutes after each session.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) daily. These muscles help support organs in your abdomen and pelvis, and are used during childbirth.

Do not exercise without permission from your provider if any of these apply to you:

  • High blood pressure
  • Preterm rupture of membranes
  • Preterm labor during a prior pregnancy, this pregnancy or both
  • Incompetent cervix or if you have had cervical cerclage
  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • Your baby is smaller than he or she should be by the ultrasound
  • You are carrying more than one baby
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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