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Exercising Safely During Pregnancy

You must have permission from your doctor before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Decreased rate of inductions, episiotomies, and cesarean sections
  • Decreased length of labor
  • Manage a healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Lose pregnancy weight more easily
  • Physically stronger for the demands of child care
  • Set a healthy example for your family and future children

If you are pregnant, you should NOT exercise if you have:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Preterm labor
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Decreased fetal movement for 24 hours (ACOG Committee Opinion No 267. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. January, 2002.)

Physical Therapists are trained in exercise prescription for those with any type of musculoskeletal disability or health problem and can help develop an exercise program that meets each person ’s needs. Physical therapists can provide:

  • Orthotic/footwear evaluation
  • Exercise and fitness program prescription
  • Treatment for mechanical back pain
  • Education

Exercise Options While Pregnant

  • Aerobic Exercise: Light jogging, walking, swimming, water aerobics, bicycling (early in pregnancy)
  • Strength Training: Light weight and high repetitions to target arms, legs, and postural muscles
  • Flexibility Training: Stretching of muscles in arms and legs
  • Body Mechanics Training: Education on positioning and lifting techniques to minimize low back and neck pain

Exercise to Avoid While Pregnant

  • Scuba diving
  • Impact sports (football, basketball)
  • Exercise above 6000 feet
  • Horseback riding
  • Downhill skiing

Resources: www.womenshealthapta.org www.acog.com