Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start most types of exercise, but you may need to make a few changes. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits. If your health care professional gives you the OK to exercise, you can decide together on an exercise routine that fits your needs and is safe during pregnancy.
Are there certain conditions that make exercise during pregnancy unsafe?
Women with the following conditions or pregnancy complications should not exercise during pregnancy:
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your baby in these key ways:
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How much should I exercise during pregnancy?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. An aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include brisk walking and general gardening (raking, weeding, or digging). You can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day.
If you are new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day. Add 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for 30 minutes a day.
If you were very active before pregnancy, you can keep doing the same workouts with your health care professional’s approval. However, if you start to lose weight, you may need to increase the number of calories that you eat.
What changes occur in the body during pregnancy that can affect my exercise routine?
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account:
What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:
What are some safe exercises I can do during pregnancy?
Whether you are new to exercise or it already is part of your weekly routine, choose activities that experts agree are safest for pregnant women:
If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. Discuss these activities with your health care professional.
What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?
While pregnant, avoid activities that put you at increased risk of injury, such as the following:
What are warning signs that I should stop exercising?
Stop exercising and call your obstetrician or other member of your health care team if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
Why is it important to keep exercising after my baby is born?
Exercising after your baby is born may help improve mood and decreases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can occur more frequently in women in the weeks after childbirth. In addition to these health benefits, exercise after pregnancy can help you lose the extra pounds that you may have gained during pregnancy.
Anemia: Abnormally low levels of blood or red blood cells in the bloodstream. Most cases are caused by iron deficiency or lack of iron.
Cerclage: A procedure in which the cervical opening is closed with stitches in order to prevent or delay preterm birth.
Cervical Insufficiency: Inability of the cervix to retain a pregnancy in the second trimester.
Cesarean Delivery: Delivery of a baby through surgical incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
Complications: Diseases or conditions that occur as a result of another disease or condition. An example is pneumonia that occurs as a result of the flu. A complication also can occur as a result of a condition, such as pregnancy. An example of a pregnancy complication is preterm labor.
Deep Vein Thrombosis: A condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg or other area of the body.
Dehydration: A condition that results from loss of water from the body.
Gestational Diabetes: Diabetes that arises during pregnancy.
Hormones: Substances made in the body by cells or organs that control the function of other cells or organs. An example is estrogen, which controls the function of female reproductive organs.
Oxygen: A gas that is necessary to sustain life.
Placenta Previa: A condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus, so that the opening of the uterus is partially or completely covered.
Preeclampsia: A disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth in which there is high blood pressure and other signs of organ injury, such as an abnormal amount of protein in the urine, a low number of platelets, abnormal kidney or liver function, pain over the upper abdomen, fluid in the lungs, or a severe headache or changes in vision.
Preterm: Born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Uterus: A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing fetus during pregnancy.