Most women can, and should, engage in mild to moderate exercise during pregnancy. Exercise can help you stay in shape as well as prepare your body for labor and delivery. However, talk with your health care provider before you begin exercising during pregnancy.
Walking, swimming and cycling are all excellent forms of exercise during pregnancy. Strengthening exercises are appropriate using light weights. You also may want to consider a prenatal exercise class. Instructors can illustrate safe and effective floor exercises.
Exercise during pregnancy can:
At the same time, there are a number of key points to keep in mind while you exercise:
Whether you are pregnant or not, it always is important to warm up and cool down when exercising. Take five to 10 minutes at the beginning of your exercise session to gradually warm up your muscles and prepare your body. When you finish your exercise session, gradually slow down rather than stopping abruptly. The warm-up and cool-down periods can involve the same form of activity as your exercise — for example, walking or swimming — but should be performed at a lower intensity and slower speed.
Other important tips include:
Stop exercising and call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
Avoid exercising if:
Before exercising during pregnancy, talk with your health care provider about any limitations or precautions you should take.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.
Prenatal Diagnostic Center
1825 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-4080
Fax: (415) 353-4077
Young Women's Clinic
1833 Fillmore Street, Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 353-7332