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Exercise During Pregnancy: You’ll Both Benefit

by ACSM April 7, 2010

Pregnant woman exercising

It’s as inescapable as the return of spring. As writers have pointed out repeatedly on this site and as researchers have documented in study after study, physical activity is good for everyone. The benefits (health, fitness, well-being, self-image and more) accrue from bouts as brief as ten minutes and accumulate through daily activities such as housework, gardening, walking the dog or playing with the kids. We must continually help people understand that physical activity is for everyone, regardless of age or condition.

Expecting? Keep active!

Pregnancy should not keep women from a healthy dose of activity. Exercise during pregnancy and postpartum is a professional interest of mine; I’ve seen how appropriate levels and kinds of activity can help keep mothers and babies healthier and happier. Both during pregnancy and after delivery, exercise can help the mother through improved cardiovascular fitness and in many other ways. Postpartum benefits also include mood improvement and weight management. Some evidence points toward shortened labor and reduced risk for certain complications. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans spell it out, based on solid evidence and in lay terms.

Among the key recommendations:

  • Healthy women who are not already highly active or doing vigorous-intensity activity should get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preferably, this activity should be spread throughout the week.
  • Pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or are highly active can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their health-care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.
  • Pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or are highly active can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their health-care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time.

Pregnant women should review the recommendations in full, including activities to avoid and the wisdom of seeking a health-care professional who can provide knowledgeable guidance. Armed with solid information and motivated by the desire to achieve the best health for themselves and their babies, pregnant women can remain active through pregnancy and beyond.

What has been your personal or professional experience with exercise during pregnancy?

What barriers do you see that make it difficult for pregnant women to achieve beneficial levels of exercise, and how can we overcome those barriers?

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Comments

4/7/2010 10:21:20 PM #

Of course, for a healthier pregnancy, every expecting mothers need think that exercise can do a lot more better not for her but also for the baby. I agree too that she needs a medical advice first if she wants to engage in a vigorous exercise she used to when she is not yet pregnant.

exrafit.blogspot.com Republic of the Philippines |

4/13/2010 6:41:20 PM #

Swimming is a great exercise for pregnant women.  The resistance of the water allows for cardiovascular workouts and opposing sets of muscles get equal work.  The bouyancy of the water supports and stabilizes the body.  The joints are also protected from the trauma of other aerobic type exercise.  The sense of weightlessness is wonderful on gravity laden backs and bellies.  You do not even need to swim as walking in the water gives a better workout than walking down the street.

Rebecca United States |

9/20/2010 12:31:23 PM #

Thanks so much for this blog it was really helpful for my research. I totally agree with you that exercise is especially important for pregnant women and by gently exercising throughout pregancy, women can recover quickly from child birth and regain their pre-pregnancy weight faster. Exercise will prepare the body for the challenges of labour. Practicing Yoga specifically for pregnant women is also really useful. See my website for more indepth info on execise, particularly Yoga in pregnancy at firstbabybliss. Thanks again!

Pregancy Adviser United Kingdom |

10/19/2010 1:03:40 PM #

wow i never thought that being pregnant i could do all of these exercise , I've learned a lot from this article .

Thanks.

maria United States |

10/22/2010 10:16:24 PM #

I knew pregnet women were supose to exercise but i wans't sure how much this article helped.

beverly United States |

11/2/2010 9:40:07 PM #

I really didn't know pregnant women could do this much exercise and that much.  I really enjoyed this article and the website. Thank you

katherine Chitwood United States |

11/14/2010 2:11:50 PM #

I exercise by walking and doing leg lifts, to help my legs mostly to support my new weight gain Smile it gives me energy also.

jamielee United States |

12/3/2010 11:12:19 AM #

Very informative!

Kelly United States |

3/6/2011 12:57:28 AM #

I find walking and some gardening it just gets hard to stay away from certain foods

eliana abdouni United States |

3/14/2011 5:06:09 PM #

This article was very helpful. Exercise is very important and I try and walk everyday for at least and half hour to an hour.

Brooke Knowles United States |

3/14/2011 5:10:29 PM #

This Article was very helpful. Exercise is great when your pregnant I try and get in about 30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise.

Brooke Knowles United States |

3/16/2011 7:08:29 PM #


Ahora se lo importante que es el ejercicio para las mujeres embarazadas y creo que el articulo nos da mucha informacion importante que a veces no sabemos y es importante para la mujer embarazada

ana garcia United States |

3/21/2011 10:59:15 AM #

Helped me out alot

Candace United States |

4/15/2011 9:23:39 AM #

good info

s warren United States |

4/19/2011 10:55:32 AM #

Exercise really is essential, for me I exercise a lot before pregnancy, so it has been hard limiting the the amount of exercise I do.

Angela Gibbons United States |

5/20/2011 4:21:50 PM #

So I as well agree all whole grains an fruit!

Jennifer313 United States |

5/20/2011 4:22:27 PM #

Whole grain an fruits

Jennifer313 United States |

5/31/2011 11:33:27 AM #


I REALLY LIKED THIS ARTICLE I REALLY THESE THINGS ABOUT EXERCISING BECAUSE IM IN MY THIRD TRIMISTER AND ALREADY GAINED ALOT OF WEIGHT. NOW I CAN WORK SOME OFF.

danita10 United States |

5/31/2011 5:15:01 PM #

thisinfo was really helpful to me becauasesometimes i feel really tired to get up so i  benefiting from this i knew that i have to move more often as an exercise.

afrah qasem United States |

8/3/2011 6:16:46 AM #

Very clean and professional, and your posts are very informative.
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sara anderson United States |

8/10/2011 3:29:10 PM #

I did not know I was able to do so many different exercises while pregnant!! good to know!

stephanie United States |

5/25/2012 3:09:25 PM #

I didn't know either but it seems like those various exercises can also be helpful in labor if your going for the natural way.

Nicole McMorris-jackson United States |

8/18/2011 6:40:19 PM #

good information. Very Helpful

robina United States |

8/19/2011 1:00:02 AM #

Good article and special care and exercise and yoga should be done during this period and having this you feel good and fresh.

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Boots no.7 United States |

8/19/2011 1:08:52 AM #

Good post and informative.For health related problem visit ""

Cellulean United States |

8/20/2011 5:57:21 AM #

Liked your blog..It was very helpful to me.Thanks a lot.. One more thing i want to add is that Smoking and drinking alcohol is not good at the time of pregnancy.

Skinlastin United States |

8/20/2011 6:41:33 AM #

i always had this confusion that why doctors recommend pregnant ladies to have a some warm up exercise it can b risky. bt this article changed my point of view  thanks to the writer

eyelastin United States |

8/24/2011 4:13:21 AM #

very nice! Nice Article , it is very informatine…

Maxolash United States |

8/24/2011 6:04:33 AM #

it is a great article

skilastin United States |

9/5/2011 6:55:34 AM #

Fantastic article thanks to share ! I love to read this kind of stuff!

maxolash United States |

9/7/2011 1:58:08 PM #

This is my first time been pregnant,I think that it is good that we can do all this stuff even though we are pregnant.

Jodi Boren United States |

9/12/2011 5:16:48 AM #

Many people like to read articles and good articles can attract more people to read and help more people. This article is really a good article for any people to read. No matter men women or children, younger of older. This article is very meaningful from every aspect that is why I love your site. Thank you for giving us so good article. We will your blog support always.

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Pirate Boots Republic of the Philippines |

9/21/2011 6:11:15 AM #

Yes we can do exercise in pregnancy but very easy and safety exercise only, Good one.

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forrunnerhealth India |

9/22/2011 2:44:21 AM #

Pregnancy week by week is a tedious waiting stage until you can motivate to do nothing and just relax all day. This is a very interesting proposal, if a simpler and less complicated childbirth pregnancy is desired. To pave the way for an easier delivery and pregnancy weeks of pregnancy unless a problem for the future, is seriously recommended that you prepare and adhere to a strict exercise schedule pregnancy.
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pregnant quiz United States |

9/29/2011 9:21:52 PM #

Excercising helps labor but also helps keeping you from gaining to much weight during pregnancy.

kaylynn United States |

10/1/2011 7:36:19 AM #

This is just what I was looking for. I did not expect that I'd get so much out of reading your write up! You've just earned yourself a returning visitor Smile

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mellisa garcia United States |

10/12/2011 8:17:58 PM #

I find it a bit difficult to squeeze in exercise with all the appts and work plus keeping up with the house chores and growing a baby inside of me. Its something I need to work on. Great article, very informative!

Erin United States |

10/13/2011 9:07:08 AM #

Yes i also agree with you that during this time yoga should be done as it is and will be helpful for both and thanks for sharing this with us as well

Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology United States |

11/29/2011 7:20:04 PM #

after excerising your body feels different

victoria United States |

12/6/2011 9:56:22 PM #

wow, its good too know pregnant woman can do more exercise than just walk. i have learned a lot from this article.

erica United States |

12/10/2011 1:15:29 PM #

This is very helpful, i thought i had to stop playing basketball when i got pregnant so i did and ever since i don't exercise. If i would've known that i could still do it while being pregnant, i would've still been doing it and getting enough exercise!

Irma :D United States |

12/15/2011 12:08:42 PM #

This makes me feel better, because I am active at work and sometimes it worries me.

Ann United States |

12/20/2011 7:08:44 PM #

Love this informatoin and completely agree! I feel so much better while and after I excercise. Makes for a much happier and healthier Momma! Great advice!

NIcole United States |

12/21/2011 7:37:53 AM #

Information every mom-to-be should know. Smile

asktpj United States |

1/6/2012 1:00:53 PM #

Yo pienso que si la persona embarazada està en consatnte ejercicio puede reducir las enfermedades durante el embarazo, por eso yo cuando estaba embarazada caminaba 1 hr diaria.

Patricia Benitez Mexico |

1/21/2012 5:43:46 PM #

it seems like a lot of food but whenu think about how much exercise we need to do and have done we really need it.

KaRee United States |

2/7/2012 10:15:04 PM #

that was an awesome article i never thought during my pregnancy i could do all of the work so i will start my exerciser as soon as possible again

diana United States |

2/22/2012 9:43:38 AM #

Thanks for making it clear that exercise is important during pregnancy. I plan to start today!

Michelle Smith United States |

2/27/2012 7:07:34 PM #

This is very interesting!!! I was really impressed that pregnant women could exercise that much.

Jessica United States |

3/12/2012 4:01:06 PM #

My boyfriend is a bodybuilder and being able to work out with him now that I am pregnanat is awsome.

Tiffany United States |

3/20/2012 4:55:15 PM #

I learned a lot and looking forward to everything!!

ATreadwell16 United States |

4/4/2012 11:27:45 PM #

i really injoyed this articale

amy orozco United States |

5/2/2012 5:51:24 PM #

I found this article very interesting. I have been very active through out my whole pregnancy. Exercise is the key to keeping yourself and the baby healthy.    

Sadarain United States |

5/18/2012 12:50:58 PM #

I am 40 years old and my husband and I are having our 6th child and this article has reminded me to start walking again to maintain my healthy pregnancy weight especially since I have gestational diabetes.  Thanks for the very useful information.

Joanne Barton United States |

5/25/2012 9:05:47 PM #

Este articulo es muy importante para mi por k me ah ayudado a controlar mi peso y a estar mas saludable.

juana United States |

5/29/2012 9:54:39 PM #

exercising is very important it will help you in labor and even before that to help your baby to get into possition for labor

jessica maldonado United States |

6/11/2012 9:31:31 PM #

eh aprendido mucho con este articulo ahora ponerme en accion....

sarai Huerta United States |

7/1/2012 10:55:03 PM #

wow its very good infomation for pregnany

constance United States |

7/10/2012 4:08:35 PM #

Does anyone have any exercise information for women on bed rest?

Mia United States |

7/12/2012 12:12:54 PM #

My suggestion would be to follow your doctor's advice.  Typically, bed rest implies limiting all activities, including any exercise during that time.  

K Butner ODPHP United States |

8/22/2012 4:12:38 PM #

  

      Good information for all pregnant women.

Maria United States |

8/29/2012 12:21:33 PM #

i love exercise, it makes me feel re energized

marcella United States |

10/15/2012 9:28:33 PM #

I have been active all the time, before pregnancy I would go to the gym 4 times a week for almost 2 hours. After being pregnant, I was a little worried if I am still able to do so. After reading this article it made me realize that I can remain active in different ways. Thank you!

Ana Marquez United States |

10/22/2012 9:21:37 PM #

i walk a lot during my pregnancy, as well as trying to eat right.

kiner United States |

10/25/2012 1:57:09 PM #

I exercise daily and love to stay active.  I believe it will keep me and my son healthy while I am pregnant.

kelley whiting United States |

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