Being Active During Pregnancy
Physical activity is important for a healthy pregnancy. A safe and healthy pregnancy decreases risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. It is healthy for both mom and baby because it:
- Keeps you feeling energized
- Reduces problems like gestational diabetes and excessive weight gain
- Strengthens your heart and lungs
- Gets your muscles in shape for delivery
- Helps you be in shape after baby is born
- Decreases stress and symptoms of depression
If you were active before pregnancy, you can usually continue being active during
pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, you may need to shorten the time and intensity
of your exercise. Try to be active at least 30 minutes or more on every day of the
week. Discuss your activity level with your doctor.
If you were not active before pregnancy, now is a good time to start, but first talk to your doctor. You can start by going on three 10-minute walks after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Finding an activity you enjoy or a friend to join you is a great way to stay active during and after pregnancy.
When is physical activity not safe?
When a woman has preeclampsia, severe anemia, or other high-risk pregnancy conditions, exercise may not be safe. Ask your doctor about the types of exercise that are best for you.
All pregnant women should avoid activities where you can get injured or have a risk of falling down. Any activity that involves bouncing, leaping, or sudden changes are not safe. Skydiving, scuba diving, contact sports, and hot yoga are not safe during pregnancy.
Safe types of exercise during pregnancy
- Aerobic classes
- Light housework or gardening
- Playing with children
- Prenatal yoga
Tips for safe exercise during pregnancy
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
- Take it slow. If you cannot talk during the exercise, you may be doing too much.
- Limit outdoor activity if the weather is very hot or very cold.
- Exercising when there is snow and ice on the ground increase the risk of falling down.
- Avoid hot tubs, whirlpools, or steam rooms.
When to stop and contact your doctor
Whatever type of exercise you decide on, it is important to listen to your body’s warning. If you have any of these symptoms during exercise, stop the activity and contact your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Muscle weakness
- Chest, back, or hip pain
Exercise can be a part of a healthy pregnancy and has many benefits when it is safe. Always talk to your doctor about the types of exercise that are best for you.
In some cases, such as high-risk pregnancies, exercise may not be recommended. Ask your doctor for advice about the types of exercise that is best for you. Any activity that causes bouncing, leaping, sudden changes of direction are not recommended.