Exercising while expecting: is it safe to do?

    Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

    It is a big question expectant mothers have: to exercise or not exercise?

    "I think people sometimes are apprehensive to exercise when they are pregnant because they don't want to harm the baby at all," says Sarah Steinhoff, Physical Therapist Assistant at Mercy Medical Center.

    Expectant mothers: here is your answer. There are proven health benefits to exercising while pregnant.

    But that exercise is a little bit different than your traditional exercise.

    "Obviously when you are pregnant you have more weight, which makes it a little more difficult to exercise and sometimes you have a little bit more shortness of breath due to that increased weight," says Steinhoff.

    Doing simple exercises, like arching your back between a camel-like and cat-like post, reaching in a direction opposite the arm you are stretching, or putting an exercise ball between your back and a wall, squatting multiple times, provide pregnant women with muscle relief, as well as overall relaxation. This relaxation helps the body, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

    However, doctors warn against dangerous physical activies, like skiing or snowboarding, while pregnant, as well as starting any vigorous exercise program.

    "I would say base it off of what you did before you were pregnant, and modify it from there," says Steinhoff.

    As always, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any fitness plan to make sure it is best for you and baby.

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