How to Exercise Safely If You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy changes a lot about your body. It’s common to suffer aches, weight gain, and fatigue as you support a growing baby. While exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling drained, it can boost energy and help you feel more like yourself.

It’s generally safe to exercise if you have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, and you have a range of options from which to choose. But if you have preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes, get clearance from your health care team.

Michael Coppa, MD, and our OB/GYN team are here to help you have a healthy pregnancy. From the best tips for exercising safely to how you can prepare for labor and delivery, we provide top-quality care to women.

The importance of exercise during pregnancy

Exercising is a key component of any healthy lifestyle. But when you’re pregnant, it provides health benefits for you and your baby. Participating in safe exercise can help you manage weight gain and discomfort throughout pregnancy. 

Getting 30 minutes of moderate activity most days a week can minimize a range of unpleasant pregnancy symptoms like constipation, back pain, and swelling. It helps keep you healthy and reduces your risk of developing complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

Exercising while pregnant can even improve your labor and delivery experience. Consistent exercise strengthens your body and increases your stamina, while also reducing your risk of needing a cesarean birth.

Throughout your pregnancy, stay in touch with Dr. Coppa and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pregnancy changes the way your body feels, so you might find that you get short of breath or lose your balance more frequently than you did pre-pregnancy.

Tips for exercising while you’re pregnant

There are many types of exercise that are safe for pregnant women. If you were active before you got pregnant, chances are good that you can continue your workouts during pregnancy. For example, avid runners may continue running well into their pregnancies under physician supervision.

Popular activities to help you stay active during pregnancy include:

With any type of exercise, listen to your body. Modify exercises as needed to accommodate your changing body, and don’t feel bad if you can’t do as much as you did before pregnancy.

Types of exercise to avoid when you’re pregnant

Strive to get regular exercise during your pregnancy, but take the time to find exercises that are safe for you and your baby. Avoid activities that are high-impact or put you at risk of falling, including horseback riding, skiing, or mountain biking.

Contact sports increase your risk of getting hit in the stomach, and this can be dangerous for you and your baby. Don’t participate in activities like hockey, basketball, or soccer while you’re pregnant.

Certain exercises become uncomfortable or impossible to perform when you’re pregnant, particularly in your second and third trimesters. Any exercise that requires you to lie flat on your back, like situps or crunches, can be painful and put your health at risk.

If you experience pain or shortness of breath at any time during exercise, stop what you’re doing. Call Dr. Coppa or seek prompt medical care if you have:

We’re here to help you find the right exercise routine to keep you active and healthy throughout pregnancy and beyond. To find out if you’re healthy enough to exercise during pregnancy, contact our office for your first appointment. We have three locations in Rhode Island: Cranston, Smithfield, and Providence.

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