Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise During Pregnancy

As an OBGYN and a mom who exercised through 4 pregnancies, I love this topic.

During pregnancy I have run a marathon (granted first pregnancy, first trimester, didn’t have a positive home pregnancy test yet), run a half marathon, run short distances, biked, swam, walked , strength trained, stretched and done yoga.

Women with uncomplicated pregnancies are encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength training exercises before, during and after pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy promotes physical fitness and may lower incidence of excessive gestation weight gain, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth and cesarean birth.

Some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements. For instance, laying flat on your back during exercise after 20 weeks may result in decreased venous return due to the pregnant uterus compressing the aorta and vena cava leading to low blood pressure.

Make sure you have a thorough clinical exam before taking on a new exercise regimen to ensure you don’t have a medical reason to avoid exercise.

Exercises that have been extensively studied and found to be safe and beneficial in pregnancy:


2.Stationary cycling

3.Aerobic exercises


5.Resistance exercises (weights, elastic bands)

6.Stretching exercises

7.Hydrotherapy, water aerobics

Exercises to avoid:

1.Contact activities with high risk of abdominal trauma or imbalance.

2.Scuba diving

Goal: Moderate-intensity exercise 20-30 minutes per day on most or all days of the week.

Exertion: Use the “talk test” to measure exertion. As long as you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you aren’t overdoing it.

Warning signs to STOP:

1.Abdominal pain

2.Regular painful contractions

3.Vaginal bleeding

4.Amniotic fluid leakage

5.Dyspnea before exertion



8.Chest pain

9.Muscle weakness affecting balance

10.Calf pain or swelling

What is your favorite exercise while pregnant?