Exercise and Pregnancy 
Carol Britton 
Thursday, 15 January 2004 

Regular exercise is good for your body and when you’re pregnant, exercise may be especially important for you and your baby.


Some women who have certain medical conditions may have to take special precautions during pregnancy, so check with your doctor about your exercise routine. 


How Exercise Helps

Exercise during your pregnancy has many benefits such as helping your body get ready for labor and childbirth. You can increase your energy and build up good muscle tone. Having a baby takes a lot of stamina, so being in good shape can really help.


Regular exercise also may help you in the following ways:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve mood
  • Improve posture
  • Promotes good muscle tone, strength and endurance
  • Helps you sleep better


Weight gain comes with any pregnancy. In general, you can expect to gain 25 to 30 pounds. Your heart will have to pump more blood, and you’ll use about 20 percent more oxygen when you rest and even more when you exercise. Regular exercise can help your body meet these new demands.


Getting Started

The first step before beginning any exercise program is to check with your doctor. Even if you participated in a regular exercise program or sports before you got pregnant, talk with your doctor to make certain that the program is still appropriate for your new status. You may need to make modifications to your existing program.


Your goal should be to exercise three or four times a week for at least 20 minutes per session. Start slowly and work up to your goal over three to four weeks.


Walking is an excellent exercise for nearly everyone. It gives you a moderate aerobic workout while putting less stress on your joints than some other forms of exercise such as jogging or high impact aerobics. Best of all, you’ll just need a good pair of well-fitting walking shoes, comfortable clothing, and a safe place to walk.

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