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Health & Pregnancy

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Weatherproof Your Pregnancy Workout

How to keep exercising when you're pregnant and the weather isn't great.

The Yoga Factor continued...

If you decide to attend a regular yoga class, tell the instructor beforehand that you're pregnant so she can modify poses for you, O'Brien says.

Some fitness centers offer “hot yoga,” taught in a room that's pumped with heat. These classes are OK for your non-pregnant gym buddies, but not for you.

“Avoid classes where they're intentionally trying to get you to sweat,” says Cheryl R. Bellaire, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Exton, Pa. “You want to watch for overheating.”

Wet Your Whistle

It's crucial for pregnant women to stay well-hydrated when exercising, whether indoors or out. Experts recommend sipping on cool water before, during, and after your workouts.

“Water is the best,” Bellaire says. “Some people aren't used to sports drinks, and they can be upsetting to your stomach. Some have a lot of sugar, too, which is unnecessary calories.”

Don't skimp on liquids because you're worried that you'll have to go to the bathroom. If need be, stay within a block or two of home when walking or running, or go pre-emptively before leaving the gym locker room.

“If you have an uncomfortable bladder, you'll be leaving class a few times, but so be it,” Merrill says. “You definitely don't want to be thirsty.”

4 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Crunches. Don't lie on your back after the first trimester; the weight of your growing uterus can put too much pressure on important blood vessels, which can cause lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Running on hot, humid days . It can be dangerous for the baby if your body temperature rises too high. Instead, head for a treadmill at the gym, or try running in the early morning, when it's coolest.
  • Pilates. You're all set if the instructor is teaching a prenatal class, but ordinary Pilates classes have too much on-your-back time.
  • Balancing classes. Some gyms offer group classes where everyone stands on round-bottomed equipment to improve their balance. Pregnant women have enough trouble with balance without putting themselves into purposely wobbly situations.

4 Ideal Exercises During Pregnancy

  • Walking. It's an ideal year-round activity. If it's too hot or cold outside, or if the roads are icy or wet, head to the mall or a treadmill.
  • Low-impact aerobics. You get a great cardiovascular workout with no jumping, no fancy footwork, and with one foot always on the ground.
  • Water aerobics. It's lower-impact aerobics with even less risk of injury, because you can't stumble and fall in a pool.
  • Recumbent bike. Cycling is excellent exercise, but riding a two-wheeler requires balance, so a stationary bike is better. For comfort's sake, the bike with the wide chair and backrest is best.

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Reviewed on November 30, 2010

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