Dear Dr. Roussis:
I joined a gym this year for my New Year’s resolution and just found out I’m pregnant. Am I still able to exercise?
Exercise during pregnancy can be very beneficial for you and your baby. It helps keep your body strong, reduces physical discomforts (like backache, muscle cramps, and fatigue), improves sleep, and keeps your baby healthy. Exercise also helps you recover after your baby is born.
Most women can exercise safely during pregnancy. We recommend all women, regardless of whether your pregnancy is considered high risk, talk first with your doctor about whether physical activity is safe for you and your baby during pregnancy.
If your doctor says it’s okay to work out, try doing so for 30 minutes a day. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slowly and build up to 30 minutes a day or break your total time into 10 minute workouts.
When to Avoid Exercising
Remember to talk with your physician about exercising while pregnant. It isn’t safe if you’re experiencing:
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or fainting
- Increased heart rate – although your heart rate is typically higher while pregnant
- Chest pain or a severe headache
- Sudden pain or swelling in your calf
- Certain health problems, like high blood pressure or heart disease
- Vaginal bleeding
- Cervical problems
- Leaking of amniotic fluid
- Preterm labor in current or previous pregnancies
- Decreased activity from your baby or other complications
If you experience any of these symptoms during or after exercising, call your physician immediately.
Exercises to Do
Many communities offer prenatal exercise classes. Here are some good workouts to try during your pregnancy:
- Certain aerobics and yoga classes
- Cycling on a stationary bike
Exercises to Avoid
There are some activities you should not do during your pregnancy, including:
- Anything that can cause a serious fall
- Vigorous activity in hot, humid weather
- Exercising on your back after the first trimester (because of reduced blood flow to the uterus)
- Anything that requires you to hold your breath
- Contact sports
- High altitude or water skiing
- Scuba diving
- Horseback riding
Important Tips for Exercising
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, supportive athletic shoes, and a good fitting bra. Drink plenty of water before, during and after you work out. Listen to your body and slow down or stop if you’re feeling out of breath, overheated, or dizzy.
If you’re interested in speaking with one of our high risk pregnancy physicians or nurses, please call (865) 331-2020.
You can also learn more information about safely exercising during pregnancy by watching this video.
Complete, High-Risk Pregnancy Care within One Practice
For the last 20 years, Fort Sanders Perinatal Center has delivered over 20,000 high-risk babies at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Our Center for High Risk Pregnancies is led by Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists, Perry Roussis, MD, FACOGand Gary Stephens, DO, FACOOG, along with our team of nurse practitioners, midwives, phone nurses, genetic counselors, diabetes counselors, care coordinators, and sonographers.
There’s no safer place for your baby’s beginning than at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center with complete high-risk pregnancy care in one practice and expert emergent care just steps away for our smallest patients. Call (865) 331-2020 or for more information.
Disclaimer: please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have a specific medical question or issue, we encourage you to call our office at (865) 331-2020 and schedule an appointment.