Exercise and Pregnancy: A Healthy Combination
The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy
- Weight control
- Stronger abdominal and back muscles, which improves posture and may lessen back pain
- Increased energy levels
- Improved mood
- Preparation for phsyical demands of labor
- Enhanced quality of sleep
Activities to Limit or Avoid
- Scuba diving
- Activities that present an increased risk of falling (eg, skiing, skating)
- Sports with a high potential for contact (eg, ice hockey, soccer)
- Exercising at high altitudes (over 6,000 feet)
- Activity that involves lying flat on your back
- Resistance training with heavy weights
Exercise Duration and Frequency
Other Factors to Consider
- Balance: As your body shape changes, so does your balance, which could put you at a greater risk of falling.
- Temperature regulation: Exercising in a controlled, air-conditioned environment will help keep temperature levels in check. And in general it’s a good idea to wear layers of clothes and exercise during the cooler hours of the day. Also, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Nutrition: Women who are pregnant need an extra 300 calories per day during the last six months of pregnancy. Exercising may further increase your calorie needs.
Before You Begin
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Preterm labor
- Unusual change in your baby’s movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage
After Baby Arrives
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases http://win.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca/
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. . Available at: http://www.acog.org/Resources%5FAnd%5FPublications/Committee%5FOpinions/Committee%5Fon%5FObstetric%5FPractice/Exercise%5FDuring%5FPregnancy%5Fand%5Fthe%5FPostpartum%5FPeriod. Published January 2002
Fit for two: Tips for pregnancy. Weight-control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/two.htm. Updated November 2009. Accessed June 18, 2012.
Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/pregnancy.html. Updated March 30, 2011. Accessed June 18, 2012.
Kramer MS, McDonald SW. Aerobic exercise for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jul 19;3:CD000180.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012 -
- Update Date: 06/18/2012 -