When a bundle of baby joy is on the way, lots of life changes are in store. Sometimes, that means modifying your exercise habits.

Should you start up a group exercise class? Can you keep your same strength training schedule?

Dr. William Weidner, an OB-GYN at Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha, said it’s always a good first step to talk to your doctor about your exercise habits. Most docs will be supportive, he said, but they might want to talk about what to watch out for along the way.

“I encourage patients to stay active during their pregnancy,” Weidner said. “We talk about things to watch for so if we run into problems, we can reassess.”

Staying in shape can help, especially in the delivery room. Weidner tells his patients that labor is one of the hardest things they’ll ever do.

“There’s a reason they call it labor. It’s like a marathon,” Weidner said. “... If you’re in shape before you start out, you’re going to be so much better.”

While it varies from case to case, Weidner said keeping fit can also help women bounce back after baby.

If you didn’t work out before pregnancy:

» Don’t join a class or start a big workout routine.

» Stick to low-impact activities, like walking.

» Throw in hand weights to tone your upper body.

If you were a casual exerciser before pregnancy:

» Spread out your workouts. Instead of one long class on a weekend, break it up into shorter workouts during the week.

If you were a serious exerciser before pregnancy:

» Listen to your body.

» Don’t try to advance your workouts. Stick with what you’ve been doing.

» Cut back if you have any pain or discomfort.

» Stay hydrated.

Other tips to keep in mind:

» Avoid deep squats later in pregnancy.

» Avoid heavy lifting through the majority of pregnancy.

» Consider cutting back on reps.

Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.