Exercising Safely

March 21, 2017

Exercising Safely

Pregnant women must take special care to exercise safely. Talk with your doctor first about what exercises are right for your pregnancy. Below are some guidelines to help prevent problems. And always stay alert for signs that you may be exercising too hard.

Exercise Guidelines

The tips below will help you have a safe, healthy workout:

  • Stay cool. Stop exercising if you feel overheated, especially during the first 12 to 14 weeks of your pregnancy. During hot weather, exercise in an air-conditioned room.

  • Know when to slow down. Never exercise to the point where you're exhausted. Can you talk? If not, you're working too hard. Slow down. Stop and rest if you feel lightheaded or nauseated.

  • Drink water. Drink at least 1 cup of water before exercising. During your workout, drink another 2 cups. Drink a cup of water after you exercise, even if you're not thirsty.

  • Warm up and cool down. Begin any exercise session with warm-up activities such as slow walking or marching in place. This reduces the chance of injury. Always end your workout session with cool-down or stretching exercises.

  • Eat 300 extra calories a day. Your body needs 300 extra calories a day to meet the added energy needs of pregnancy and exercise. Eat a light snack before or after you exercise.

  • Listen to your body. If an exercise hurts, stop doing it. You can always try it again at a later time. And don't exercise when you have a cold or aren't feeling well.

Activities to Avoid

Stay away from activities where you might fall or get bumped. Listed below are some of the activities to avoid:

  • Horseback riding

  • Roller skating and ice skating

  • Basketball and racquetball

  • Snow skiing, water skiing, and jet skiing

  • Scuba diving

  • Exercises that require balancing will become more difficult as your center of gravity changes.

  • Avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back.

Breathing for Two

Image of pregnant woman

You and the baby need to get enough oxygen during exercise. So use your abdominal muscles for deeper breathing. Practice the following steps:

  • Place your hands on your abdomen, with fingertips touching.

  • As you breathe in, expand your abdomen until your fingers no longer touch.

  • As you breathe out, feel your abdomen sinking and your fingertips meeting again.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You have sudden or severe abdominal pain.

  • You are bleeding from the vagina.

  • You are dizzy or feel faint.

  • You have chest pain or severe shortness of breath.

  • You have contractions..

  • You have a rapid heartbeat.

  • You notice fluid leaking from the vagina.


March 21, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Dolan, Mary, MD,Nancy BowersNancy Bowers RN MPH