Exercise During Pregnancy

While some exceptions exist, in general, if you are an active person, pregnancy is not a reason to stop exercising. As a matter of fact, exercise can provide many benefits during your pregnancy. It can promote muscle tone and strength, improve sleep and energy, and is beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Regular exercise will also help in getting you back in shape once you have delivered. However, pregnancy is not the time for weight loss. If you are burning extra calories with exercise, you should account for those calories in your diet.

Exceptions to this rule—Who should not exercise?

▪ Women at risk for preterm birth

▪ Women with ruptured membranes

▪ Women with unexplained bleeding

▪ Women with certain health conditions that make exercise dangerous. Discuss this with your provider.

A few pointers and things to avoid:

▪ If you do not currently exercise, pregnancy is not the time to embark on a rigorous exercise regimen. Before beginning anything new, discuss this with your provider.

▪ Because of excess weight and the change in your body’s center of gravity, your balance may be changed by pregnancy. You may not be as stable as you once were, making you at a higher risk of falling.

▪ After the first trimester, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back.

▪ Avoid activities that call for jumping or jarring motions, as this may strain your joints and cause injury.

▪ Stay hydrated. Especially in Alabama, you can lose a lot of fluids quickly!

What if I’m a beginner?

If you are a beginner and have not been exercising, there are several things that are very safe. Remember that when starting, you should start slowly and build slowly on what you are doing. Consistency will pay off as your tolerance and endurance build. You should slowly be able to build up to 30 minutes per day. You should discuss this with your doctor, though, prior to starting.

Safe exercises:


Cycling, preferably on a stationary bike

Running (if you were a runner before you got pregnant)


Strength training (if you were doing so before you got pregnant)

Is anything not safe?

The following activities should be avoided during pregnancy:

Snow skiing

Contact sports

Scuba diving


Water skiing

Horseback riding

Exercising on machines such as the elliptical and treadmill may become more dangerous toward the end of pregnancy secondary to a change in your center of gravity. It is safer to exercise on flat surfaces to avoid a loss of balance.

Remember, even if you were a heavy exerciser prior to pregnancy, as your pregnancy progresses, you may have to slow down a bit. As with anything, moderation is the key! If you have any questions at all, please call our office or ask your doctor.