Prenatal Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines

pregnant woman exercising for pregnancy exercise articleExercising during your pregnancy is recommended because it helps maintain posture, decrease common discomforts, relieve stress, and increase stamina for delivery.

If you ARE already fit and active prior to being pregnant, you should be able to maintain your activity with moderation.  It is not advised to increase exercise intensity, but rather stay at a comfortable level for you. It is also recommended to participate in lower impact cardio (walking, swimming, elliptical trainer) rather than high Impact (jogging running). And, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor for any personal recommendations they might have based on your medical history. Here are the highest rated postnatal exercise programs.

If you are NOT physically active prior to your pregnancy, it is still recommended that you start, but consult with your doctor prior to starting. In most cases, walking is considered safe to start while pregnant. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication.

These Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

  • Holding your breath during any activity.
  • Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding).
  • Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball.
  • Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
  • Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
  • Bouncing while stretching
  • Waist-twisting movements while standing.
  • Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather.

Summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Guidelines for Exercising While Pregnant:

  • Aerobic exercise during pregnancy is not safe if you have any of these medical conditions:
  • Significant heart or lung disease
  • An incompetent cervix
  • You are carrying more than one baby and are at risk for premature labor
  • Persistent second- or third- trimester bleeding
  • Premature labor during your current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension

Warning Signs to Stop Exercising and Call Your Doctor

  •  Vaginal bleeding
  • Dyspnea (difficult or labored breathing) prior to exertion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Preterm labor
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Amniotic fluid leakage

Mike Caton