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Exercise During Pregnancy

Natan Rosenfeld Natan Rosenfeld March 30, 2021
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MDAsma Khapra, MD, and Marianne Madsen

Pregnancy can be a rewarding but also challenging time in a woman’s life. Expecting mothers must change some aspects of their lifestyle in order to deliver a healthy baby when the time comes. For instance, many women wonder if they can still exercise while pregnant. Is it safe? Should I take any precautions? Which forms of exercise can and can’t I do? If you’re carrying a child, you may be asking yourself these exact questions. Here are a few key points you need to know about exercising during pregnancy.

 

Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

 

With some exceptions, yes, it is generally safe to exercise while pregnant. In fact, working out during pregnancy has a number of health benefits both for the mother and for her baby, such as:

 

  • Reduced risk for having a cesarean delivery (C-section)
  • Reduced risk for gestational diabetes
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Lower weight gain
  • Faster recovery after birth
  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy and better mood
  • Reduced symptoms of pregnancy such as bloating, constipation, and backaches

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Pregnancy and Exercise

Pregnancy and Exercise

What kind of exercise should I do?

 

You’re probably wondering, then, what types of exercise you should and shouldn’t be doing. As long as you avoid contact sports that could put you or your baby at risk, such as basketball or soccer, you can enjoy doing what you like. Here are some examples of exercises and sports that are safe to do while pregnant. 

 

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Indoor cycling
  • Yoga 
  • Aerobics
  • Brisk walking

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Benefits of Yoga

Benefits of Yoga

If you’re new to working out, try starting with a mild form of exercise like walking or light jogging. You can even get a gym membership and join an exercise class or work out with friends. 

 

Just be careful while engaging in high-intensity exercise. Even though these kinds of exercises are considered safe, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before taking up an exercise program of any kind while pregnant. Make sure to stretch and drink lots of fluids before and after exercising.

 

How much exercise should I get?

 

Now you know that it’s safe and beneficial to exercise while pregnant–how much should you be exercising? The general recommendation is to work out for 20 to 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but any amount of exercise you do has health benefits. After you give birth, you should continue working out to be healthy and strong. You may also want to lose the extra weight you gained during your pregnancy.

 

I have a health condition. Can I still exercise while pregnant?

 

If you have one of the health conditions listed below, it may be unsafe to exercise while pregnant

 

  • Weak cervix
  • Placenta problems
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Diabetes

 

If you have any of these health issues or one that’s not on the above list that concerns you, consult your doctor first to be sure it’s safe to exercise during your pregnancy.

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