BistroMD Health Library

Get excited about reading again with fun and interesting tips from our experts, including The M.D., our dietitians, and our fitness expert. In our health library, you will find all of the information you need to achieve your goals of making a healthy lifestyle change. So, start reading and start losing!

Women's Health

Discover everything you need to know about women’s nutrition in this section devoted solely to woman’s issues. Topics covered include weight gain during menopause, and tips on how to detect and avoid breast cancer.

Exercise During Pregnancy: Healthy for Mother and Baby

Whether you’re a beginner or an avid participant in regular workouts, the benefits of exercise during pregnancy is worth exploring, considering, and implementing!

Exercise During Pregnancy: Healthy for Mother and Baby


With the worrying forecasts of uncomfortable backaches, unpredictable hormones, and uncontrollable food cravings, exercise may be put on the backburner. But amidst the weathering chaos, exercising through the storm is of the best things moms can do for their health and that of the baby. So whether a beginner or an avid participant in regular workouts, exercise during pregnancy is worth exploring, considering, and implementing!

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Prevent Blood Clots
Living a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of harmful blood clots, which may potentially cause a blood clot in the placenta, heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and miscarriage according to the American Pregnancy Association. Getting the blood flowing with aerobic exercise can improve circulation, in turn which reducing the risk of leg swelling and blood clots.

Combat Constipation Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy, with up to half of women reporting constipation at some point throughout their duration. Along with consuming adequate fiber and water, women can combat constipation risk by exercising while pregnant.

Reduce Back Pain
Pregnant women often complain of back pain, especially as baby grows. Resistance training can reduce the severity of the pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.

Heighten Energy Levels
Pregnancy often leaves women feeling less energetic and fatigued. And since caffeine consumption is limited to 200 milligrams or less in pregnant women, regular exercise can give supply energy to make it through the day.

Boost Mood
Stemming from body and hormonal changes, pregnant women likely experience a heaping fill of negative emotions. Exercising while pregnant can mitigate such undesirable feelings and boost mood, lessen mood swings, improve self-image, and allow a greater sense of control.

Nurture Sleep Cycles
Especially by the end of their pregnancies, women have difficulty sleeping throughout the night. But the importance of a good night’s sleep should not be slept on, as women who achieve adequate sleep on a regular basis are implied to have a healthier pregnancy. Exercise in the morning, afternoon, and early evening hours has shown to nurture appropriate sleep cycles, with late-evening workouts potentially increasing the risk of insomnia.

Prepare You for Childbirth
Though exercise cannot necessarily lessen the pain associated to childbirth, it can supply moms with the endurance to take on labor. In fact, exercising while pregnant can result in a shorter and less exhausted labor, along with fewer medical interventions.

Maintain A Healthy Weight
Though weight loss is not the goal or recommended during pregnancy, maintaining a healthy weight is. Women of a normal weight who gain more than the recommended 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy increase the risk of complications for themselves and baby. Maintaining a healthy weight and fitness levels not only makes it easier to lose the weight after the baby is born, but lessens the risk of a complicated pregnancy, birthing an overweight baby, and carrying baby to full-term.

Reduce Gestational Diabetes Risk
Gestational diabetes is the development of diabetes in pregnancy, further increasing the likelihood of developing diabetes following pregnancy. Managing healthy weight gain through exercise and diet can lessen the risks of gestational diabetes, along with controlling blood sugars if gestational diabetes were to develop.

Safe Exercises During Pregnancy

Before jumping into any sort of exercise regimen, it is important to consult with your primary care provider. Following a green light and go-ahead, most healthcare experts will recommend exercising for 150 minutes throughout the week, breaking the time up based on comfort level. Be active and get the blood flowing with the some of the listed exercises:

Walking
Walking is a convenient way to keep active without the intense impact of running. Pregnant women can naturally increase walking throughout the day simply by parking further from entrance doors, grabbing a friend and hitting hiking trails, or on the treadmill at a gym.

Stationary Bike Riding
Cycling on a stationary bike is generally safe even if even if just beginning a workout program. Its use is an excellent way to promote cardiovascular activity without placing heavy strain on the joints. A stationary bike also grants pregnant women the autonomy to pedal at their desired pace and distance.

Swimming
One of the best exercises during pregnancy is swimming, as the buoyance of the water offers low-impact conditions that is gentle on the joints. Local community centers are likely to provide classes for more detailed instruction.

Weight Training
Particularly if you were strength training prior to pregnancy, chances are you can keep your weight lifting routine. But before starting a weight training program, like all exercise advice, discuss its safety with your doctor. If you weren't strength training before you got pregnant, find another exercise for now.

Prenatal Yoga
The gentle practice of prenatal yoga can strengthen core muscles, ease back pain, promote relaxation, and influence a safe and efficient labor. Most health experts discourage the practice of hot yoga, along with avoiding getting into positions that require you to lie on your back.



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