Exercise during pregnancy

The old myth that pregnant women should go on a bed rest is just that – an old myth.

Let’s start right off the bat with these three recommendations from the health experts.

  • 01From the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
    Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, early delivery or low birth weight. If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to exercise. However, it is best to discuss it with your obstetrician, get an OK to exercise and decide the kind of routine that is safe for you during your pregnancy.
  • 02From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week of for healthy pregnant women. It is best to spread physical activity throughout the week or break it up into smaller parts during the day.

    Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing. Examples include brisk walking, general gardening, pushing a lawn mower, water aerobics, cycling on a level ground and playing doubles tennis.

  • 03From the UK’s Chief Medical Officers
    The 2017 joint release from the Chief Medical Officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland encourage expectant women to listen to their bodies and adapt their physical activity accordingly.

    They also recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week, in bouts of at least 10 minutes every activity. These guidelines aim to reduce obesity, diabetes and address other health concerns for pregnant women.

Pregnant woman

What activities should pregnant women avoid?

  • Contact sports like basketball, boxing, soccer, hockey or football
  • Activities where there is an increased risk of trauma or falling like skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, horse riding, gymnastics
  • Skydiving and activities performed above 6,000 feet (if you do not already live at a high altitude)
  • Hot yoga or hot Pilates which may cause you to become overheated

What are the warning signs that you should stop exercising?

  • bleeding from the vagina
  • regular, painful contractions of the uterus
  • fluid leaking from the vagina
  • breathlessness or shortness of breath before starting exercise
  • chest pain
  • headaches and dizziness
  • muscle weakness that can affect your balance
  • calf pain or swelling

What are the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy?

  • helps control weight gain
  • helps reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) problems
  • helps prevent diabetes during pregnancy
  • improves fitness, sleep and mood
  • decreases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg or other area of the body.

Key takeaway:

As long as your doctor has declared you fit and healthy to do exercise, you should. Listen to your body and develop a regular routine that’s safe for you and your baby.

If you’re an expectant mom and you’re looking for someone to personally guide you while you do your exercise, let me know and we’ll work out a plan for you.

Related Articles