- It is safe to exercise during pregnancy
- Start slow and build your way up
- Avoid Scuba diving, hot yoga, hot pilates, and anything with a risk of falling
- Always consult your doctor before starting any new routines!
With the first signs of two pink lines on the home pregnancy test, there is no doubt that you want to do our best to keep yourself and your baby healthy; that’s why it’s important to include a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy.
It’s no secret that pregnancy is a time of immense excitement but there is no denying that it can be a little overwhelming. Getting the real “scoop” on exercise during pregnancy can help you face bodily changes ahead.
Is Exercising While Pregnant Even Safe?
Historically pregnant women were discouraged from engaging in physical activity but experts now agree that it is safe for most women to start or continue exercising with baby on board. So if you were exercising before you were pregnant, it’s ok to continue with your program, with modifications of course.
If you did not enjoy sweating it out at the gym before getting pregnant, don’t worry. Try your best to get active. Start slowly and build strength and stamina over time as you become stronger. It is recommended that healthy women who are not already active get at least 2½ hours of moderately intense aerobic activity each week.
It’s completely normal to feel nervous or even a little anxious from time to time when you’re pregnant, but the reality is, exercising will not increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. Have a conversation about any fears or concerns with your doctor and get insight into what activities they feel are safe for you.
So What Are The Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant Anyway?
There are so many benefits of exercising while pregnant, like you are less likely to experience excessive weight gain, severe back pain, and are less likely to deliver via c-section. Physical activity is also a great way to get your body ready for labor.
Exercising also helps your baby! A recent study found that babies with moving mamas had better head control, gripping abilities, and body control compared to babies with sedentary moms.
Ok, So What Activities Are Safe?
Being pregnant does not mean that you have to give up our favorite activities, and you don’t need a gym membership, or fancy equipment to be active. You can still participate in some of your favorite activities, just check with the doctor first to get the okay.
Some safe exercises for healthy pregnant include:
- Walking: Change the pace, add hills, or increase the distance. Walking is a great workout that doesn’t put a lot of strain the joints or muscles.
- Yoga: Prenatal yoga can improve sleep, reduce stress, and anxiety, all while increasing flexibility. Your instructor will modify, or eliminate poses that may be unsafe for pregnancy like lying on your belly or flat on your back (after the first trimester).
- Swimming and water workouts: Being in the water helps support the weight of a growing belly and eases weight on the joints and muscles.
- Strength training: A great way to build muscle and strengthen your bones is to pump some iron. It’s safe to work out with weights while pregnant, just be sure they are not too heavy. Be sure to ask your doctor about how much weight is safe to lift.
What Exercises Are Off-Limits?
Stay away from contact sports or activities where there is a high risk of falling like downhill skiing or horseback riding. It’s a good idea to also stay away from certain activities until after your baby is born.
This includes exercises like:
- Scuba diving
- Hot yoga
- Hot pilates
When to Stop Exercising
You know your body best so always pay attention to how it feels. Be sure to drink lots of water when exercising to keep hydrated. Stop all activity and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Bleeding or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat, or trouble breathing
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Muscle weakness, trouble walking, pain, or swelling in your lower legs
- Consistent, painful contractions
- If your baby stops moving
Keeping Fit During Pregnancy
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind during your pregnancy. Fighting the urge to sit at home and binge-watch your favorite TV shows may take a bit of motivation, but it has a huge payoff for the nine months of pregnancy and years beyond. Start here with an interactive planner to be active today!
Updated April 22, 2021
- Exercise in Pregnancy, Sports Health
- Exercise during pregnancy, March of Dimes
- Prenatal yoga: What you need to know, Mayo Clinic
- Effects of Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy on 1-Month Infant Neuromotor Skills, Med Sci Sports Exercise
- Committee Opinion: Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, ACOG
- Exercising during pregnancy, The Nemours Foundation.