Physical activity is important for everyone, including women who are pregnant. Regular physical activity during pregnancy can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy. It may also help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.
If you were already physically active before your pregnancy, it’s healthy to continue exercising. If you weren’t physically active before your pregnancy, it’s not too late to start.
Before you begin…
Talk to your doctor about getting active during your pregnancy. As long as there isn’t a medical reason for you to avoid physical activity during your pregnancy, you can begin or continue to do moderate physical activity.
Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.
- If you weren’t exercising before, start slowly. Try breaking your activity up into 10-minute chunks of time.
- Choose aerobic activities — activities that make your heart beat faster — like walking fast, dancing, swimming, or raking leaves. You should still be able to talk during these activities.
- Be sure to drink extra water before, during, and after exercising.
- Take a break if you get short of breath or feel uncomfortable.
Follow these tips when you do strengthening exercises.
- Don’t strain to lift heavy weights. Instead, do more repetitions (lifts) with lighter weights. You can also use cans of food as weights.
- Make sure you aren’t holding your breath while you exercise. Breathe out as you lift something, and breathe in as you relax.
- Avoid exercises that could strain your lower back.
Avoid high-risk activities.
- Avoid exercising while lying on your back after the first trimester (12 weeks).
- Stay away from activities that increase your risk of falling, like downhill skiing or horseback riding.
- Avoid playing sports where you could get hit in the stomach, like basketball or soccer.