Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Should I exercise when I’m pregnant? This is a question often asked from expecting mothers from me and other healthcare providers.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.  Maintaining a regular exercise routine through the duration of your pregnancy is recommended, unless you are experiencing certain medical complications.

If you were not physically active prior to your pregnancy, you may safely begin an exercise program after consulting with your physician/healthcare provider. Please be aware of any strenuous activities. For those of you who exercised regularly prior to your pregnancy, you may continue with those activities as long as they are not accident prone.

Some of the physical activities recommended for pregnant women are swimming (one of my favorite), walking, jogging, running,  warming up your muscles with stretching and some cardiovascular activities. It is also best to exercise on a flat surface in order to keep your balance. Keep yourself well-hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your workout and consume sufficient amount of good calories per day. Remember, QUALITY before QUANTITY:).  Finish eating roughly an hour before exercising and do not exhaust yourself with any activity.

“The exercise prescription for the development and maintenance of fitness consists of activities to improve cardiorespiratory (aerobic exercise) and musculoskeletal (resistive exercise) status. Women should choose exercises that activate large muscle groups in a rhythmic and continuous fashion (eg, walking, aerobic dance, swimming, cycling, rowing, jogging) and maintain strength, the core muscles, and flexibility…Women may safely continue most of their pre-pregnancy recreational activities or modify them as pregnancy conditions change.” (Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period, Raul Artal, MD, FACOG, FACSM).

Medical complications during pregnancy include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Placenta/vasa Previa
  • Bleeding/spotting
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • History of early labor and delivery
  • Weak cervix or cervical insufficiency

If you have any of these conditions, please consult with your primary healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.

Certain activities can be harmful when performed during pregnancy:

  • Holding your breath during the activity
  • Skiing and horseback riding
  • Softball, football, basketball, and volleyball
  • Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma
  • Rollerblading

Pregnant or not pregnant, the key to living a healthy life is by doing things that make SENSE. Remember that exercise is only one piece of what keeps us healthy. The key to good health during pregnancy is by focusing on ways to reduce CHRONIC INFLAMMATION.  This approach will reduce chronic inflammation, cellular stress and hopefully provide a healthy signal for important genes to turn on or off. By living the SENSE model of life, you will keep the doctor away!

  • Sleep helps the body to combat diseases. Insomnia often aggravates stress and negative emotions.
  • Exercise and weight management can reduce our risk for heart disease and diabetes. From cardiovascular to yoga, exercise is paramount.
  • Nutrition is a significant environmental factor. It is recommended to consume foods such as green vegetables like peas and broccoli. Load your diet with nuts, fruits and vegetables!
  • Stress-reduction – Take some time to relax and unwind. High levels of stress are never beneficial.
  • Positive Emotions – Positive thinking and changing our perception provides healing.

Disclaimer

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualifies health provider before making any health, medical or other decisions based upon the data contained herein. Information provided is for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professionals.

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Sean Daneshmand MD

Sean S. Daneshmand, M.D. is one of the busiest and most caring people you may ever meet. As the founder of the charity, Miracle Babies, as well as a full-time doctor, father, husband and business owner, it is hard to believe that he sleeps at all—or perhaps, he has found a portal to the 36-hour day. Dr. Daneshmand is a perinatologist (high-risk obstetrician) whose expertise includes obstetric and surgical management of invasive placentation, care of pregnancies following in-vitro fertilization, and management of maternal medical problems during pregnancy at the San Diego Perinatal Center. He was recognized by CNN, in their CNN Heroes segment, for his work with Miracle Babies and his dedication to his patients.