Healthy pregnancy (21)
- Back pain during pregnancy: 7 tips for relief
- Sleep during pregnancy: Follow these tips
- Prenatal yoga: What you need to know
- see all in Healthy pregnancy
First trimester (7)
- Fetal development: The first trimester
- Prenatal care: 1st trimester visits
- First trimester pregnancy: What to expect
- see all in First trimester
Second trimester (8)
- Second trimester pregnancy: What to expect
- Prenatal care: 2nd trimester visits
- Fetal development: The second trimester
- see all in Second trimester
Third trimester (10)
- Third trimester pregnancy: What to expect
- Fetal development: The third trimester
- Prenatal care: 3rd trimester visits
- see all in Third trimester
Pregnancy problems (23)
- Bed rest during pregnancy: Get the facts
- Heart conditions and pregnancy: Know the risks
- High blood pressure and pregnancy: Know the facts
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let's move!
Activities to approach with care
If you're not sure whether a particular activity is safe during pregnancy, check with your health care provider. It's best to avoid any exercises that force you to lie flat on your back, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Activities such as scuba diving and hiking at high altitudes are generally discouraged, as are contact sports and activities that pose a high risk of falling — such as water skiing, downhill skiing and in-line skating.
You're more likely to stick with an exercise plan if it involves activities you enjoy and fits into your daily schedule. Consider these simple tips:
- Start small. You don't need to join a gym or don expensive workout clothes to get in shape. Just get moving. Try a daily walk through your neighborhood. Vary your route to keep it interesting.
- Find a partner. Exercise can be more interesting if you use the time to chat with a friend. Better yet, involve the whole family.
- Use a headset. Listen to music or a book while you exercise. Use lively songs to energize your workout.
- Try a class. Many fitness centers and hospitals offer classes designed for pregnant women. Choose one that fits your interests and schedule.
- Get creative. Don't limit yourself. Consider hiking, rowing or dancing.
- Give yourself permission to rest. Your tolerance for strenuous exercise will probably decrease as your pregnancy progresses.
Listen to your body
As important as it is to exercise, it's also important to watch for danger signs. Stop exercising if you notice:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
If your signs and symptoms continue after you stop exercising, contact your health care provider.
A healthy choice
Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. If you haven't been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Artal R. Recommendations for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2010.
- Artal R. Anatomical and physiological changes of pregnancy and exercise. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2010.
- Kalisiak B, et al. What effect does an exercise program for healthy pregnant women have on the mother, fetus, and child? PM&R. 2009;1:261.
- Duncombe D, et al. Factors related to exercise over the course of pregnancy including women's beliefs about the safety of exercise during pregnancy. Midwifery. 2009;25:430.
- Olson D, et al. Exercise in pregnancy. Current Sorts Medicine Reports. 2009;8:147.
- Murry MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 24, 2010.
- Olson D, et al. Exercise in pregnancy. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2009;8:147.