Exercise During Pregnancy

Why Exercise?

  • Prevention or reduction of most pregnancy-related symptoms including back pain, ankle swelling, fatigue, varicose veins, constipation, and bloating.

  • Enhanced psychological well-being; more energy and improved mood.

  • Reduced cardiovascular stress on your body.

  • Reduced incidence of pre-eclampsia.

  • Prevention of excess weight gain.

  • Maintenance of fitness.

  • Improved sleep patterns.

  • Easier labor and delivery.

  • Faster recovery after delivery

What Exercises are Safe During Pregnancy?

  • Walking

  • Swimming

  • Riding a bicycle

  • If you were a runner prior to pregnancy, you most likely can continue running during your pregnancy, but may have to change the briskness of your routine as your pregnancy advances.

How Often Should You Exercise?

  • Unless advised by your medical provider, most women should exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week.

Types of Exercises to Avoid

  • Activities where there is a high risk of falling [gymnastics, skiing, horseback riding]

  • Contact sports [hockey, basketball, soccer]

  • Scuba diving

  • After 13 weeks of pregnancy [1st trimester] avoid any exercises on your back.

Exercise Safety

  • Before starting an exercise program, speak with your pregnancy care provider.

  • Monitor exercise intensity. Keep your heart rate less than 150 beats per minute.

  • Dress for the weather and stay cool while exercising.

  • Drink plenty of water! This will prevent you from overheating and dehydrating.

  • Have energy for exercising by eating a light, low-fat high protein snack at least one hour before exercising.

Warning Signs

If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising immediately and consult your pregnancy care provider

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Shortness of breath

  • Irregular or rapid heart beat

  • Chest pain

  • Difficulty walking or muscle weakness

  • Decreased fetal movement

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Uterine contractions

  • Leaking of vaginal fluid

  • Calf pain or swelling

  • Headache