Image for pregnant fitnessExercise during pregnancy is not only safe, it’s increasingly recommended. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy women get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise on most if not all days of the week is recommended for pregnant women who have no medical or obstetric complications.

The Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy  

Some benefits of exercising regularly during pregnancy can include:

  • Weight control
  • Stronger abdominal and back muscles, which improves posture and may lessen back pain
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved mood
  • Preparation for the physical demands of labor
  • Enhanced quality of sleep

Recommended Exercises  

The best exercises for pregnancy are those that put minimal stress on the joints, involve smooth movements, and have a low risk of falling or body contact. Great exercises include swimming, walking, stationary biking, and elliptical machines.

Activities to Limit or Avoid  

Some activities pose increased risks in pregnancy and should be limited or avoided. These include:

  • Scuba diving
  • Activities that present an increased risk of falling such as skiing and skating
  • Sports with a high potential for contact such as ice hockey and soccer
  • Activity that involves lying flat on your back
  • Resistance training with heavy weights

Exercise Duration and Frequency  

Exercising for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week is all that’s needed to maintain fitness and achieve related benefits. Women who wish to exercise for longer than 45 minutes should speak to their doctors before doing so. Getting your exercise in 10-minute spurts is also fine. As long as you exercise at a mode