Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits. If your health care professional gives you the OK to exercise, you can discuss what activities you can do safely.
Are there certain conditions that make exercise during pregnancy unsafe?
Women with the following conditions or pregnancy complications should not exercise during pregnancy:
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in these key ways:
How much should I exercise during pregnancy?
Ideally, pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. An aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include brisk walking and general gardening (raking, weeding, or digging). You can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day.
If you are new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day. Add 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for 30 minutes a day.
If you were very active before pregnancy, you can keep doing the same workouts with your obstetrician’s approval. However, if you start to lose weight, you may need to increase the number of calories that you eat.
What changes occur in the body during pregnancy that can affect my exercise routine?
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account:
What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:
What are some safe exercises I can do during pregnancy?
Experts agree these exercises are safest for pregnant women:
If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. Discuss these activities with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team.
What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?
While pregnant, avoid activities that put you at increased risk of injury, such as the following:
What are warning signs that I should stop exercise during pregnancy?
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, watch for the following warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of them, stop and call your obstetrician:
Why is it important to keep exercising after my baby is born?
Exercising after your baby is born may help improve mood and decreases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that can occur more frequently in women in the weeks after childbirth. In addition to these health benefits, exercise after pregnancy can help you lose the extra pounds that you may have gained during pregnancy.
What is prenatal genetic testing? Prenatal genetic screening tests gives parents-to-be information about whether their fetus has certain genetic disorders. What are genetic disorders? Genetic disorders are caused by changes in a person’s genes or chromosomes. Aneuploidy is a condition in which there