Dr. Dina Kulik: The Baby Doctor


Pregnant Women Need to Exercise (Sorry, Not Sorry!)

Unless you've been prescribed bed rest, there's some real benefits to making sure you keep exercising.

I continued spin classes all through my third pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been a "lay on the couch with my feet up" kind of girl. I am always on the move – working in too many places, chasing my kids, writing, and running to the gym. I get bored WAY TOO easily. So I simply continued on my usual track.

With it being my third pregnancy, and my obstetrician knowing me well at that point, at my 12-week appointment Dr. S says to me, "So, you are still running marathons, I suspect?"

I clarified, “Dr. S, you know I am a spin addict."

She conceded, "Oh yes, well make sure you’re heart rate stays below 140."

To which I replied, “Can we make it 150?"

She giggled, and said, "Sure, doctor."

That day I went on Amazon and ordered myself a heart rate monitor. I used it every spin class since, and (mostly) kept my heart rate below 150, as directed.

For me, spinning is a release. It’s my "me time." I feel revved up during the class and amazing after it. I need it for my mental health as well as for my body. Thankfully have had no aches or pains to date, just the odd twinge from my hips as relaxin kicks in. I sleep well through the night. I have energy to chase around my kids. And, when I was 9 months along, I hardly looked like I was past my first trimester.

If you are pregnant and not particularly active, there are tons of benefits to exercising in pregnancy. Taking it slow can help prevent injuries. If you are healthy, the benefits of moderate to intense activity usually outweigh the risks. If you are beginning a new exercise routine during pregnancy, please discuss it with your doctor or midwife.


What are the benefits of exercising in pregnancy?

  • Less joint discomfort
  • Fewer backaches
  • Less constipation
  • Improved sleep
  • Faster return to the pregnancy weight after delivery (who doesn’t want this?!)
  • Potentially easier labor and delivery (I labored a mere 90 min with my first!)
  • Increased endurance (infinitely helpful in long labors)
  • Less swelling to the feet and hands


Discuss with your doctor if you have:

  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Premature rupture of membranes (broken water)


Which exercise is best?

You can do any exercise you want.  (Although you should probably avoid jumping out of airplanes and tiger-wrestling.) Do what you love! Love yoga – find a studio that offers prenatal yoga, or use a home video that suits your tastes? Like to walk – keep it up as long as you feel well doing so. As long as you and your health care provider are happy with your choice, go for it! Your body and baby will thank you!


Other tricks to help you feel amazing in pregnancy:

Drink plenty of water. Like 2 L a day! I know you have to pee often, but do it - trust me! This is one of the most annoying parts of pregnancy, but water will reduce fatigue and nausea. Water will also help prevent overeating when you think you are hungry, but are actually thirsty.

Sleep, as much as your body craves. I know this is hard to follow through on. After a long day I would often rather crash on the couch and watch garbage TV. But my body needs real rest. We should aim for 9-10 hours a night.

Minimize caffeine.  As you progress in your pregnancy you may feel more and more sluggish. Caffeine seems like an easy solution, but… the after effects can make you feel even worse. Try to minimize these ‘fake’ pick me ups. Most experts recommend limiting to 1-2 cups of coffee.

Stretch, a lot. This is a big one for me. I NEED to stretch daily to prevent restless leg syndrome, which has plagued me since my first pregnancy. The more limber you remain, theoretically the easier labor and delivery will be.

Take ‘me’ time. Whether this is your first or fifth baby, you will soon have WAY less alone time. Take it now. Whether you want to be on your own reading a quiet book, or out with girlfriends, enjoy what makes you happy.

Put that bag of chips/candy bar/restaurant chain burger/bottle of pop down. They are so yummy, I know. But also loaded with sugar, salt and fats. You’ll feel great for 30 min then more sluggish, and regretful.

Try to enjoy this amazing time, before the chaos ensues. Eat nutritiously, get your heart pumping, and indulge in extra sleep. You and your baby will thank you!




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