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Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

Keeping fit and active in pregnancy is essential for your and your baby’s health.

But it’s understandable if you have questions about exercise during pregnancy, especially if you are a first-time parent.

We explain why it’s safe — and advisable — to exercise during pregnancy and offer some suggested activities to keep you fit and healthy.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Let’s start by understanding the benefits of being active during pregnancy. Exercising for around 30 minutes on most days at any stage of your life will boost your overall health and well-being, and there are specific benefits for soon-to-be moms:

  • Improves your mood and relieves anxiety
  • Boosts your energy
  • Stimulates your digestive system
  • Eases backache and other aches and pains
  • Helps prevent or manage gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension
  • Improves your muscle tone and strength
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Helps prepare your body for labor
  • Helps you get back into shape after childbirth

If you are generally fit and healthy, there are few risks of exercise during pregnancy if you practice gentle to moderate activities, but you should always consult with your obstetric provider before you continue or start any exercise regimen while you are pregnant.

Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, if you already follow a gentle to moderate exercise program, it should be safe for you to continue it when you are pregnant. But it’s best to check with your obstetric provider first.

Know that there are lots of activities that you can practice during pregnancy. These include:

  • Walking. This is a perfect activity, whatever your fitness level. It’ll give you a good aerobic workout without putting too much stress on your joints.
  • Yoga. Gentle to moderate yoga is beneficial for your pregnant body. Not only will you enjoy the stretching exercises, but you can also use some of the breathing techniques to help you relax. Try a specialized prenatal yoga class for expert guidance, or inform your instructor if you are pregnant so that they can modify the poses for you.
  • Swimming. This is a wonderful exercise for pregnant moms. It works your large muscle groups yet is low impact and allows you to feel weightless in the water.
  • Aerobics. Low-impact aerobic classes are a great way to enjoy exercise in a group while you are pregnant. You’ll get a cardiovascular workout and strengthen your muscles too.
  • Cycling. If you enjoyed indoor cycling before pregnancy, then there’s no reason not to continue. Cycling on a stationary bicycle will give you a great overall workout. Outdoor biking is generally not advised in pregnancy – as your baby grows it can affect your balance, and you could be at higher risk for falls.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

There are some exercises that are not recommended during pregnancy:

  • Contact sports such as hockey, volleyball, and soccer
  • Activities with a risk of falling like horse riding, gymnastics, outdoor biking, and skiing
  • Exercises where you must lie flat on your back after the first trimester
  • Scuba diving as decompression can be risky to the pregnancy
  • Any activity where you might hit the water with force, like diving or surfing

Caring For You Means Caring About You at Essex County OB/GYN

Exercising during pregnancy can help alleviate common aches and pains of pregnancy and will give you an overall feeling of health and well-being.  Here at Essex County OB/GYN, our obstetric providers can answer your questions about safe exercise in pregnancy and help you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Find out more about how we can support you through a healthy pregnancy by contacting us today.

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