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Pregnancy and Exercise

pregnant woman exercising outdoors
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Exercise before pregnancy

Exercise before pregnancyThe exercise habits women have before they become pregnant will largely dictate whether they will engage in exercise during their pregnancy. Those women who are physically active and well informed about the benefits of exercise in pregnancy are likely to engage in a healthy exercise program until late gestation.

For more information, see Exercise Before Pregnancy.

Video: Pregnancy and exercise

Pregnancy and exercise videoFor the most part, life goes on as normal during pregnancy, including being active. Dr Joe Kosterich talks about common sense, types of exercises to avoid or continue, and the importance of staying active during pregnancy.

Watch a video about Pregnancy and Exercise.

Benefits and risks of exercise during pregnancy

Exercises during pregnancyExercise has been believed to increase risks associated with pregnancy but many of these beliefs have not been proven with scientific evidence. It has only been in the last ten years that this area has been thoroughly researched and it has been found that not only is exercise during pregnancy safe but it is beneficial for both the mother and for her baby. This is not to say that there are no risks at all.

For more information, see Benefits and Risks of Exercise During Pregnancy.

Beginning an exercise program during pregnancy

Beginning exercise during pregnancyExercise in pregnancy is not only essential for women who are already active and want to maintain their fitness  level, but also for women who have never exercised before. If you are physically inactive you make like to view your pregnancy as a perfect time to make a healthy change to your lifestyle by introducing an exercise program, with the help of your doctor.

For more information, see Beginning an Exercise Program During Pregnancy.

Exercises to do and avoid during pregnancy

Exercises during pregnancyThere are some general guidelines which outline which exercises are recommended for pregnant women but the appropriateness of these activities will be largely determined by pre-pregnancy fitness level and previous exercise experience as this will dictate what intensity, frequency and type of activity can be safely maintained by each individual during pregnancy.

For more information, see Exercises To Do and Avoid During Pregnancy.

Yoga during pregnancy

Yoga during pregnancyMany women find that yoga is a gentle activity that improves joint flexibility and reduces muscle tension. The stretching postures involved in yoga may also help to relieve stress. Since yoga may not be suitable for all women, it is important that they are assessed before taking up the activity.

For more information, see Yoga During Pregnancy.

Pilates in pregnancy

Pilates in pregnancyDuring pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are stretched to make room for the growing baby. Pilates is an ideal exercise during pregnancy as it is designed to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor exercises reduce urine leakage in women with stress and urge incontinence.

For more information, see Pilates in Pregnancy.

Pregnancy and resistance training

Pregnancy and resistance trainingHealthy women who are previously active, healthy and have an uncomplicated pregnancy will be prescribed a low to moderate intensity exercise regime by their doctors.

For more information, see Pregnancy and Resistance Training.

 

Safety considerations when exercising during pregnancy

Safety considerationsIt has been shown that women who are better informed about the safety aspects of exercise during pregnancy will be more motivated to be physically active. Your doctor can tell you about what precautions you can take in order to make exercise during pregnancy safe. The more information you have about safety, the more comfortable you will feel about exercise.

For more information, see Safety Considerations When Exercising During Pregnancy.

Exercise myths

Exercise mythsMany women are hesitant to engage in any sort of physical activity while they are pregnant. Exercise has been believed to increase risks associated with pregnancies but many of these beliefs are unsubstantiated with no scientific proof. For example, studies have shown that moderate exercise is not a predisposing factor to spontaneous abortion, preterm labour or interuterine growth restriction.

For more information, see Exercise Myths.

 

More information


PregnancyFor more information about pregnancy, including preconception advice, stages of pregnancy, investigations, complications, living with pregnancy and birth, see Pregnancy.
FitnessFor more information on fitness and exercise, including stretches, types of exercise, exercise recovery and exercise with health conditions, as well as some useful videos, see Fitness
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Dates

Posted On: 16 March, 2010
Modified On: 30 March, 2017

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Created by: myVMC