How To Exercise When You’re Expecting

Light exercise during pregnancy can keep you and your baby healthy.


Mothers-to-be often find themselves wondering and worrying about how they’re treating their own body for the sake of the baby. The long-held belief is that pregnant women should rest as much as possible to avoid strain that could cause harm. However, experts and expectant mothers today are singing a different tune – one of activity and fitness.

Is it OK to exercise while pregnant?

In most cases, it’s perfectly fine and even encouraged to exercise while pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association pointed out that regular exercise will keep you fit and healthy, reducing weight gain and the risk of gestational diabetes. It can also improve your posture, mood and energy.

If you’re already a habitual exerciser, you can probably carry on as you were while regularly checking in with your body. Ask yourself if you’re feeling pain or discomfort, light-headedness or overheating. If so, you may need to dial back the speed, weight or reps.

If you’ve never been much of an athlete, now is just as good a time as any to bring some healthy exercise into your routine. Start slow and steady. Try a regular walk or some yoga.

How safe is my baby when I exercise while pregnant?

Your growing baby is encircled by the fluid in the amniotic sac, tucked securely inside your uterus. This is surrounded by your organs, muscles and the rest of your body. Considering all this, it’s much easier to imagine that your baby is safe and sound inside you.

What exercises should I avoid while pregnant?

While your developing fetus is in a generally safe environment in your womb, it’s important to not test this protection. Here are some types of exercise to steer clear of:

Fall risks

Your center of gravity changes as your baby grows. Don’t attempt exercises where you’re likely to take a fall, like gymnastics or horseback riding.

High impact

As satisfying as it is to ace your kickboxing or judo classes, take these nine months off. You wouldn’t want to take a punch going in the wrong direction. The same goes for sports like lacrosse, football or soccer.

High intensity

Some professional athletes have continued to exercise and even compete during their pregnancies. Serena Williams was two months pregnant when she won the Australian Open in January 2017. Olympic beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings was 5 weeks pregnant when she won her third gold medal in 2012. However, for most women, it’s best to stay away from these types of events. Wayward tennis rackets and volleyballs can do some serious damage to a pregnant mother.

If you’re thinking about starting or continuing to exercise, consult your doctor for advice that will keep you healthy and your baby safe.