Exercise and Pregnancy

Physical fitness is important for maintaining health before, during, and after pregnancy. Hormonal changes during your pregnancy may affect your energy levels, blood flow, oxygen flow, and overall disposition, especially during the first trimester when your body is still adjusting to drastic hormonal changes. This can severely and negatively affect your motivation to exercise.

Pregnant Woman Exercising

Why should I exercise throughout my pregnancy?

It is important to find or maintain your motivation to exercise during pregnancy because it can be beneficial to both you and your fetus. Exercise reduces muscle pain, promotes healthy weight gain, increases metabolism for post-pregnancy weight loss, improves blood circulation, and lowers the risk for obesity and gestational diabetes.

While physical activity alone does not create a risk of pre-term labor, miscarriage, or other complications, certain exercises combined with certain health conditions may contribute to complications such as cervical incompetence or preeclampsia. It is therefore critically important to consult with your doctor and health care team about exercises that are best suited for you and your pregnancy.

What kind of exercise should I do?

Most exercises are safe to continue during your pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that expecting women get 2.5 hours of cardio or aerobic exercise each week, which can break down into roughly one 20-minute or two 10-minute exercise sessions per day. Aerobic exercises can include brisk walking and other low-impact cardio workouts.

What kind of exercise should I avoid?

You should avoid high-intensity exercises in which you lie on your back (e.g. bench-pressing) and contact sports like basketball, soccer, baseball, and horseback riding may affect the fetus. During pregnancy, hormone changes also cause your joints and ligaments to loosen, so great care should be taken to avoid fitness routines that may cause strain or injury.

At Women’s Care, our obstetricians, care specialists, and staff can help you determine exercise routines that will work best for you based on the status of your health and your pregnancy. Call and schedule an appointment today at one of our Eugene/Springfield offices and learn more about the high-standard, high-quality women’s health services that we offer to our patients.