Is it safe to work out during pregnancy?

Margaret L. McKenzie, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

You should know the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy. Watch this video with Dr. Margaret McKenzie to learn about working out when pregnant.

As a general rule of thumb you should ALWAYS check with your physician before embarking on any workout regimen and the same rings true for pregnancy. Make sure you inform your doctor of your physical activities and how/if they change throughout the pregnancy. Keep in mind that your body is no longer your's alone and you need to be careful.

All that said, experts agree that working out while pregnant (so long as both mom and baby are healthy) is a wonderful and beneficial habit. Working out at this stage helps to set the stage for a healthy pregnancy, healthy labor, and ultimately a healthy road back to a healthy weight! Follow your doctors guidelines and really listen to your body during this time. The old "no pain, no gain" addage must be thrown out. Generally, if you were active prior to the pregnancy, you can continue with your activities making adjustments as needed. Remember, now is NOT the time to focus on weight loss, or that crazy new spin class you heard about. Keep it simple. Great prenatal classes are being offered everywhere now, but make sure the instructor/trainer is certified to work with prenatal clients. Prenatal yoga, Pilates, and mind body classes are wonderful additions to your healthy lifestyle during this time as they will help you tune in and are said to even help with the connection you have to your baby.

Moving during pregnancy will make the pregnancy more enjoyable itself and also help you to adjust to your changing body. Follow the guidelines and keep your doctor in the loop and you and your baby will reap the benefits.

It is safe to exercise when pregnant. Some activities should be avoided, such as heavy lifting, but other activities may be substituted. Pilates, yoga, and some cardiovascular work are beneficial for pregnant women. Exercising while pregnant could lead to decreased weight gain, better sleep, and feeling better in general. If you are pregnant, check with a doctor before starting any workout plan.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.