Being pregnant is an exciting time with a bit of understandable stress mixed in. Caring for two requires a little extra thought so you and baby are at your best. Likely you will make many adjustments to the way you eat, sleep, dress and even exercise. While you don’t have to go so far as to wrap yourself in cotton, you do have to use a bit of extra caution. These tips can help you get in some physical activity that minimizes injury and maximizes health.

Talk with your doctor

This goes without saying. Check in with your doctor during regular visits to get the go-ahead on the type and intensity of your exercise. You will need to make modifications as your pregnancy advances. Your body can offer you some clues about what feels like too much, but talking with your doctor will give you added peace of mind. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and take it easier or take a full break.

Don’t overdo

Pregnancy is not the time to catch up on your fitness goals. Still, even if you haven’t previously, it is important to get regular exercise as you prepare to welcome your bundle of joy. If you are a beginner, start with some low-impact, moderate intensity exercise such as walking, swimming, light weight training or prenatal yoga. If you exercised regularly before you became pregnant you can modify your usual routine using signals from your body as a guide. If it doesn’t feel good or right, just don’t do it. Also, adapt as you grow. For example, back-lying and twisting exercise can be dangerous after the first trimester. If your usual activity carries a high risk of falling, try using your pregnancy as a time to explore new activities that don’t put you at risk for tripping injuries.

Take care

• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while you exercise.

• Slow down as your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity will shift and put you at greater risk of injury unless you have given your body time to adjust accordingly.

• Listen to clues from your body. If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding, nausea, contractions, chest or calf pain, or anything else that causes concern, stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor.

Keeping moving for the benefits

Exercise during pregnancy can help you feel better overall. Some of the benefits include less swelling and fatigue, better stamina, reduced backache and risk of gestational diabetes. You may even make your delivery a little easier as well as ease some normal, pregnancy related stress. If you want to exercise during pregnancy but you aren’t sure where to start just remember this final tip – when in doubt, walk it out.