Exercise during pregnancy is crucial to maintaining a healthy body weight and keeping muscles strong and endurance high for the stresses and physical exertion of labor. While most pregnant women are encouraged to exercise from pre-conception through labor, there are some exceptions to the rule – including exceptions to the types of exercise and when to work out when pregnant.

Timing is Everything

Expecting women wondering when to work out can easily choose any time of day, with a few precautions in mind. It is best to work out early in the morning or late in the evening during the hottest months of summer. Working out midday (outside) can lead to extreme dehydration or heat stroke. Elevated body temperature is also associated with neural tube defects early in pregnancy. Working out during the hottest part of the day can quickly elevate body temperature to unhealthy levels.

Basic Rules of Exercising During Pregnancy

After you get approval from your prenatal care provider, there are some basic rules about when to work out when pregnant and how to work out when pregnant all pregnant women should follow.

  1. Eat extra calories – if you are in the normal BMI range, you need to consume about 300 extra calories per day. Remember, burning calories means you need to replace those calories. You are not trying to lose weight.
  2. Skip dangerous exercise and activities – horseback riding, intense aerobics and all contact sports should be off the list until after pregnancy. Choose exercises that are safe during pregnancy like yoga, light to moderate aerobics and biking. 
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothing in layers – you need to wear clothing that does not restrict your body. Wearing multiple layers allows you to take off clothing after you warm up to help keep body temperature in a comfortable and safe range. 
  4. Warm-up and cool-down – always warm-up before starting an exercise program and cool-down after you finish exercising. The warm-up prepares muscles for exercise while reducing the risk of injury. Cooling your muscles down after exercise helps reduce pain and brings your heart rate back within normal range.

If you are wondering when to work out when pregnant, talk with your physician. Most pregnant women can safely add exercise to their daily routine, but women with some potential pregnancy complications or underlying health problems that could be exacerbated by elevated heart rate or exercise may be given detailed instructions or guidelines for when to work out when pregnant.