Can I Exercise in Pregnancy?

Can I Exercise in Pregnancy?

Staying active in pregnancy is encouraged! It is well known that physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and that there is in fact many benefits to both mom and baby in staying active when pregnant. Fun fact: Exercise can increase oxygen delivery to the fetus and of course less weight gain for the mother means less to take off postpartum.

As a rule of thumb, if you were an avid exerciser prior to pregnancy, you can continue once pregnant but listen to your body. As the pregnancy advances, you may need to modify some exercise. Women should be evaluated by their OBGYN to see if they are cleared for exercising, since individual medical and pregnancy related conditions can limit their activities. However, most women with uncomplicated pregnancies are encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength training exercises throughout their pregnancy. Regular exercise in pregnancy improves physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces risk of gestational diabetes, and improves well being.  

Here are some contraindications to aerobic exercise that can complicate the pregnancy. You should be evaluated by your Ob-Gyn:

  • Heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix or cerclage
  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
  • Premature labor during current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Severe anemia 

 It is well established that there are many anatomic and physiologic changes in pregnancy that can impact activity, however exercise has been found to have minimal risks and benefit for  most pregnant women. In fact the most common sports-related injury in pregnancy is musculoskeletalFun tip: we make a Mommy Matters pregnancy pillow that is great for back and neck support for use with exercises such as Yoga and Pilates. With so much musculoskeletal injury protect your spine and neck!

 Stop exercising and contact your Ob-Gyn if you have symptoms such as:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Regular painful contractions
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Dyspnea before exertion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness affecting balance
  • Calf pain/swelling 

Safe Physical Activities in Pregnancy:

Activities that should be avoided in pregnancy:

  • Swimming
  • Hot Yoga/Hot Pilates
  • Stationary Cycling
  • Skydiving
  • Low impact aerobics
  • Scuba-diving
  • Yoga modified
  • High risk of falling sports like skiing, water skiing, surfing, gymnastics, horseback riding
  • Pilates, modified walking, running, jogging, racquet sports, strength training
  • Contact sports like hockey, boxing, soccer, and basketball



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    Disclaimer: This is general medical information and not specific medical advice.  It does not and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by your healthcare provider. If you are seeking personal recommendations, advice, and/or treatment, please consult your physician. If you have an emergency, you should contact 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.