Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise During Pregnancy

Studies of women who exercise during pregnancy have shown benefits to mom and fetus health, such as the decreased risk of operative vaginal delivery, cesarean delivery, gestational diabetes, and postpartum recovery time frame. Women who engage in vigorous aerobic activities or who were physically active prior to pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and postpartum. If there are no pregnancy complications, safe physical activity in pregnancy is encouraged.

Pregnancy is a good time to maintain or start a healthy lifestyle, and per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these are some recommendations:

  1. Exercise and physical activity in pregnancy has been shown to benefit women and their fetus. 
  2. Clinical evaluation is recommended before any exercise program to verify a patient does not have a medical indication to avoid specific exercises.
  3. Women whose care provider has cleared are encouraged to pursue cardio and strength conditioning exercise programs before, during, and after pregnancy.

Examples of beneficial and safe exercises:

  1. Walking
  2. Stationary Cycling
  3. Aerobics
  4. Dancing
  5. Weights
  6. Elastic bands
  7. Stretching
  8. Hydrotherapy

Benefits of exercising in pregnancy:

  1. A higher incidence of vaginal delivery
  2. Lower gestational weight gain
  3. Lower chance of gestational diabetes
  4. Lower chance of hypertension
  5. Lower chance of preterm and c-section deliveries

Warning signs to watch for with exercising:

  1. Vaginal bleeding/leaking vaginal fluids
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Regular and painful contractions 
  4. Dizziness, headaches, or chest pain
  5. Muscle weakness affecting balance
  6. Calf pain or swelling 
  7. Shortness of breath before exertion