April 14, 2021
Healthy Living: The Importance of Diet and Exercise
- Family Medicine
- Wellness Institute
November 6, 2019 • OB/GYN
For most healthy women, exercising during pregnancy is not only safe but also healthy. However, you need to consult your OB/GYN before starting any type of exercise program. This is the only way to ensure that you don’t have any complications or risk factors that might make physical activity unsafe during your pregnancy. Your obstetrician can also help you understand which activities are safe and which activities you should avoid until after you deliver your baby.
Healthy women need exercise during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, which is about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Exercising and staying active during pregnancy can provide a variety of benefits, including:
Keeping your muscles, joints and tissues in good working order may make giving birth easier and help you get your pre-pregnancy body back more quickly. Some research even suggests that exercise during pregnancy may reduce your risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Generally, you should be able to safely continue most types of activities that you enjoyed before becoming pregnant. If you were not physically active before pregnancy, your OB/GYN might suggest walking, swimming, biking, water aerobics, yoga or floor work. Remember to stay hydrated, wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear. Avoid exercising in high heat or humidity. Take it easy and always listen to your body, as you may experience dizziness or balance problems that you did not have before becoming pregnant. Also watch out for any excess fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or back pain.
Generally, you should avoid certain types of exercise when you’re pregnant. These include activities like:
The American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding contact sports or other activities that pose a risk of falling or colliding with equipment or other participants. You should also avoid activities involving jarring, jumping, hopping, twisting or bouncing. As you progress further in your pregnancy, you may need to adapt your workouts according to your OB/GYN’s advice.
According to the ACOG, you should avoid exercising while pregnant if you have any of the following conditions or complications:
No matter how active you might have been before getting pregnant, talk to your OB/GYN before continuing your activities or starting a new exercise program. Your obstetrician will consider your personal and family health history and any medical conditions you may have before clearing you to exercise. Together, you and your OB/GYN can ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby for the duration of your pregnancy.
Sources: “Exercise During Pregnancy.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy “Exercising During Pregnancy.” Kids Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercising-pregnancy.html “Exercise During Pregnancy.” American Pregnancy Association (APA). https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.