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Physical Exercise during Pregnancy

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Physical Exercise during Pregnancy

A healthy woman can safely continue to do normal activities during pregnancy. Most pregnant women can continue to exercise, work, travel, take baths, and have sex.

Women with low-risk pregnancies can exercise safely throughout their pregnancies. In fact, moderate physical activity is considered to be beneficial for most pregnant women and their babies. Regular, moderate exercise can help:

  • Prevent constipation
  • Prevent varicose veins
  • Relieve backache
  • Prepare your body for childbirth
  • Maintain your overall physical fitness

Despite the benefits of physical activity, it is important to check with your health care provider before you begin. In addition, there are a few important things that pregnant women should know:

  • Overheating and overexertion should be avoided, since elevated core body temperatures can harm the developing fetus. Pregnant women should always be able to speak comfortably while exercising.
  • Any exercise with potential for abdominal trauma should be avoided. Such activities include downhill skiing, horseback riding, water-skiing, and contact sports (such as football).
  • Pregnant women are more prone to injury of the ligaments. Jumping or bouncing types of exercise should be avoided or performed carefully.
  • After 20 weeks, pregnant women should avoid exercise while lying flat on the back. This can restrict blood flow to the fetus.
Examples of moderate and acceptable activities during pregnancy include:
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • Exercise classes for pregnant women
  • Kegel exercises (pelvic toning)
  • Relaxation/stretching

Return to the Pregnancy and Related Care page.


[ || Pregnancy || Informed Choice || Infections and Diseases || Quality of Care || Emerging Issues ]
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