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Exercise During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman with exercise ball

In honor of Women’s History Month, today’s post will provide fitness tips to pregnant women. Many women worry about gaining excessive weight or being able to maintain an active lifestyle during their pregnancy. Studies suggest that healthy pregnant women can begin or continue a program of regular moderate exercise and still deliver a healthy baby, but should consult with their doctors first on an activity plan. Experts at the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery offer some guidelines for pregnant women to keep in mind:

  • Cardiovascular activities that are low-impact or non-weight bearing (swimming, walking, cycling) have the best potential to be carried on throughout an entire pregnancy. Water aerobics or swimming not only minimizes joint stress but can reduce fluid retention.
  • Perform cardiovascular exercise at least 3-4 days per week. If you exercise more frequently, consider a variety of activities (to reduce overuse injuries).
  • Short aerobic exercise intervals (15-20 minutes) may help prevent heat stress to you or your baby. However there is no evidence to suggest that a more typical 30-60 minute workout is harmful.
  • Avoid exercise while lying on your back after the first trimester because this position can decrease blood flow to the baby. For example, pelvic tilt exercises can be performed in the side-lying, sitting, standing or “all fours” positions. Prolonged, motionless standing should also be avoided.
  • Normal-weight women should gain between 25-35 lbs during pregnancy. Weight gain should be 2-4 lbs by the first trimester, and about 1lb per week thereafter.

Remember to drink plenty of extra fluids before, during and after an exercise session.

Topics: Performance
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.