Exercise During Pregnancy

If you are healthy and experiencing a normal pregnancy, exercise during pregnancy can be very beneficial for both you and your baby. But first, talk to your doctor about any exercise you have been doing and want to continue or want to start.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercising regularly may:

  • Reduce back pain
  • Ease constipation
  • Decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
  • Promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Improve your general overall fitness and strengthen your heart and blood vessels
  • Help you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Moderate intensity is enough to raise your heartbeat and make you start to sweat, but you should still be able to talk normally. Examples of safe exercises for pregnant women include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming and water workouts
  • Stationary bicycling
  • Modified yoga and modified Pilates (avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods)

Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy

Although exercise is good for you, you should avoid activities that put you at risk for injury, such as:

  • Contact sports, including hockey, boxing, soccer, and basketball
  • Skydiving
  • Activities that increase your risk of falling, such as skiing or snowboarding, water skiing, surfing, mountain biking, gymnastics, or ATV or horseback riding
  • Hot yoga or hot Pilates, which could cause you to become overheated
  • Scuba diving

Warning Signs

Stop exercising and call your doctor if you experience any of these:

  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Shortness of breath before starting exercise
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Regular, painful contractions of the uterus
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina

While exercise during pregnancy is beneficial, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting something new or continuing your pre-pregnancy workout regimen.

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