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It's never too late to start getting active, even if you're well into your pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor or midwife first to make sure it’s safe - and then take your time easing into it.
If you’re new to exercise, start with 15 minutes of continuous activity three times a week. If you’re already in pretty good shape, try 30-minute sessions four times a week.
Choose things you like and make it fun by joining a class, walking with friends or dancing to your favourite music. That way, you’ll be more likely to stay active. Start with a goal and gradually increase your level of activity - rewarding yourself along the way to keep your motivation going.
To get the greatest benefits, it’s best to combine different activities:
- Endurance or Aerobic activities strengthen the heart and lungs.
- Try: brisk walking, jogging, low impact aerobics, dancing, or swimming.
- Weight bearing or Strength activities strengthen muscles and bones and improve your posture.
- Try: weight/strength training regimes modified as needed while your pregnancy progresses.
- Flexibility activities that involve bending and stretching help to keep your muscles and joints mobile.
- Try: yoga, dancing or stretching.
As your body changes, you may need to modify your activities to stay safe and comfortable. For example, if you experience:
- tender or painful breasts - wear a comfortable, supportive bra
- shortness of breath - rest; check with your healthcare provider if you have a family history of heart problems
- headaches - make sure to drink plenty of water, especially before and after exercise
- problems with balance - move carefully and avoid activities that may lead to falls
Know when to stop
Stop exercising and call your healthcare provider or HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 if you experience:
- excessive shortness of breath
- chest pain
- painful uterine contractions (more than 6-8 per hour)
- vaginal bleeding
- any “gush” of fluid from the vagina (suggesting premature rupture of the membranes)
- dizziness or faintness
Source: Physical Activity Readiness Medical Examination for Pregnancy (PARmed X for pregnancy) © 2002, used with permission from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, Inc. www.csep.ca/forms.asp
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