Staying Fit to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Women's Health Update     Fall 2017

Today, we know that being pregnant isn’t a free-ride to kick back and eat for two. Instead, staying active is considered part of a healthy pregnancy. 

If you have a healthy pregnancy with no known complications, it is safe to continue and to start an exercise routine, according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Make sure to run your current or any new exercise plans by your doctor first, just to make sure your workout choices are in line with your pregnancy health.

Why exercise and pregnancy go together

Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for both mom and baby. 

Some positive effects the ACOG says come from exercise during pregnancy include:

  • Decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and C-section
  • Easing constipation
  • Getting a better night’s sleep
  • Improving general fitness
  • Helping you lose baby weight after giving birth
  • Promoting healthy pregnancy weight gain
  • Reducing back pain
  • Strengthening heart and blood vessels

Safe exercise during pregnancy

When we’re pregnant, we should get at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity aerobic activity every week, according to Center for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

The CDC says medium-intensity activity means your heart rate is up and you start to sweat but that you can still talk without being winded.

Aerobic exercise is an activity where you move large muscles – like your arms and legs – in a kind of rhythm. Brisk walking would be a good example, according to the ACOG.

Because your balance, joints, and breathing all change along with the changes throughout your body during pregnancy, you need to choose exercises that can take all that into account.

The ACOG recommends the following pregnancy-safe exercises

  • Modified Pilates
  • Modified yoga
  • Stationary bicycling
  • Swimming and other water workouts
  • Walking

They recommend avoiding: 

  • Activities that can cause a fall, such as skiing, surfing, and horseback riding
  • Contact sports, such as football or ice hockey
  • Scuba diving
  • Skydiving
  • Sports where you can get hit in the abdomen, such as soccer or basketball

Throughout your pregnancy, it’s important to check in with your doctor about any concerns about or changes in your workout routine. And remember, exercise while you’re pregnant should not make you lose weight.

The ACOG shares the following signs that you should stop exercising right away and call you doctor: 

  • Calf pan or swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shortness of breath before exercising
  • Vaginal bleeding

Hopefully fitting exercise into our nine months of pregnancy will help keep us healthy and strong for the new babies on the way.

For more information about staying fit during pregnancy, talk with your doctor or visit to find a physician.