Pregnancy Exercise and Activities

Staying active while pregnant

Eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise and rest while pregnant are the first steps toward having a healthy baby. With all the changes in your body, and your life, you might be wondering which exercises and activities are safe to perform while pregnant, and what you should avoid.

The good news is that most healthy women having a normal pregnancy can continue to perform activities such as work and exercise. In fact, exercising during pregnancy is good for you and may help reduce some of the discomforts of pregnancy. However, you may need to modify some of your regular activities to reduce fatigue and avoid injury.

Safety for prenatal exercise and activities

Before you do any exercises or activities while pregnant, consider the following:

  • Talk to your doctor
    Every pregnancy is unique and may have certain risks that will require you to reduce your activity level or take additional precautions. Keep an open dialogue throughout your pregnancy and talk openly about your concerns. Your doctor will let you know if any of your regular activities or exercises are dangerous during your pregnancy.
  • Do not start a new fitness routine
    If you were active before you were pregnant, in most cases, you can continue to stay active until it becomes uncomfortable to do so. However, if you were never a fan of running, now is not the time to take up jogging. Stick with what you’ve been doing and talk to your doctor before trying any new exercises during your pregnancy, particularly strenuous exercises or weight-bearing activities. There are many pregnancy exercise classes and DVDs that show modified activities to make working out comfortable and reduce the stress on your joints and back.
  • Lift with caution
    When you’re pregnant, your joints and ligaments will loosen and your center of gravity will be shifted, which can increase your risk for injury. Ask your doctor what’s safe to lift (for example: can you can continue to pick up one of your other children). Your weight lifting limits will change throughout your pregnancy so be sure to talk to your OB-GYNwhenever you have questions.

Whatever you do, the most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Whether you want to go for a walk, practice yoga or go swimming, your body will tell you if you are doing too much. Your heart rate naturally increases when you’re pregnant—even at rest—which can make what used to be an easy workout, much harder. Take sufficient time to warm up and cool down, and always stop if you get too tired. Never workout until exhaustion, and always call your doctor if you have a concern.

Sex and pregnancy: is it safe?

One of the activities you might be concerned about is sex and pregnancy. In most cases, having sex while pregnant is safe if you’re having a normal pregnancy. The act of having sex while pregnant will not harm your baby. However, there are some precautions you should take before considering sex and pregnancy.

Talk to your doctor about sex and pregnancy and abstain if:

  • You have a high risk pregnancy
  • You or your partner have a sexually transmitted infection
  • If you are carrying multiple babies
  • You have vaginal bleeding with no known cause
  • You have placenta previa

Your physician may also tell you to abstain from sex while pregnant during the final weeks of your pregnancy because it has, in some cases, been linked with inducing labor.