I did some research on this subject and wrote the following when one of my students became pregnant. This was a few years ago so PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.
As long as all is going well, it is not only safe to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy, doing so has many benefits . The healthier and fitter you are, the easier your pregnancy, delivery and recovery afterwards will be.
However, there are certain exercises that you should not do and others that you may need to do differently.
This leaflet outlines the changes you may have to make to your exercise schedule.
The first thing you should do is tell your instructor/coach that you are pregnant., and if they have no experience of teaching someone who is pregnant, you can show them this leaflet so you can adjust your training schedule accordingly.
You should also consult your GP
And take on board any further advice he/she may offer.
Aerobic Exercise should be limited to low impact only. This means that for example GENTLE jogging is fine as long as it causes no discomfort but star jumps etc. are definitely out.
As your pregnancy progresses, and jogging becomes uncomfortable, marching and later, walking instead will be safer options.
If you practice martial arts, any technique that requires both feet to leave the floor at the same time i.e. jumping kicks are to be avoided.
You should avoid forced passive stretches such as reaching for your toes whilst standing and all hamstring stretches. This is because the pregnancy hormones soften the joints, so overstretching and muscle injury is a greater risk. GENTLE stretching either standing with bent knees or sitting are fine.
You also need to protect your back and abdominal muscles by using good posture and by avoiding exercise that will strain them. For instance, when doing sit-ups, you should place a cushion under one hip (pregnant women should not lie flat on their back for long periods) and keeping both feet on the floor with both knees bent, sit up until you can touch your knees with your fingertips. These should be done GENTLY and you should stop at the first sign of discomfort.
If your workout normally includes press ups, you can continue to do them if you do so on your knees with your body weight over your arms. You should stop if you experience any discomfort in the abdomen or in the knees. Do not do full press ups.
If you are doing leg raises, do not lift both legs off the floor at the same time. Keep one foot on the floor with your knee bent. Again place a cushion under one hip so you are not lying flat.
If you are a martial artist, obviously all contact or risk of contact should be avoided completely. You can perform line basics, and kata/forms/hyangs/poomse but as pregnancy progresses you may need to do them slower and in higher stances. Towards the end of term, you will probably need to do them at the speed of a tai chi set. Be guided by your body and stop anything that causes discomfort immediately. You should not do any throws or takedowns on your partner in case their body weight/momentum takes you with it.
MPORTANT SAFETY POINTS
PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD AVOID BEING BREATHLESS FOR LONG PERIODS. THIS IS BECAUSE YOU COULD BE DEPRIVING YOUR BABY OF OXYGEN. If you feel yourself becoming breathless slow down and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly and deeply until you recover.
CHECK YOUR HEART RATE AT REGULAR INTERVALS AND ENSURE IT DOES NOT EXCEED 140 BEATS PER MINUTE. . IF YOUR HEART IS RACING SO IS YOUR BABY’S!
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Remember that even in the beginning, your body is working overtime to sustain two people.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are experiencing discomfort, your body is telling you something. Stop the exercise you are doing and tell your instructor immediately. Pregnancy is not the time to test your endurance limit!
Pelvic Floor Exercises
These exercises are crucial throughout pregnancy and beyond. You can do them at any time without anyone knowing. All you do is contract the muscles around the urethra, vagina and rectum as though you are trying to stop urinating. You should do them several times a day.
If you are not sure that you are doing them right, try to stop urinating whilst you are on the loo or do them whilst making love and ask your partner if they can feel the muscle contractions.
After the birth
Unless you have had a Caesarean , You can start gentle exercise including sit ups (starting with just 2 or 3 at a time and increasing gradually) within a couple of days.
Once you have been given the all clear at your six week check up and you are happy to leave your baby you can
slowly and gradually resume your normal exercise regime.
Again, please consult your doctor as you may have special circumstances that I am unaware of and current medical thinking may have changed since the above was written.
I hope it helps.
Anyone mind if I sit down?