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Exercise During Pregnancy – Benefits And Safety

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more


Staying healthy is important to avoid medical complications and keep your immune system functioning well. This is even more vital when you are pregnant since you are taking care of 2 lives – your own and your child’s. Doctors and modern medicine can help to ensure the health and development of the foetus are going well using scans and tests.

As a mother, you also need to do your part by eating nutritious food that will support your own requirements and the heavy demands of a growing baby. Another thing you can do is exercise during pregnancy, which comes with a slew of benefits.

Exercise for pregnant women – What are your options?

Before you attempt any of the following be sure to check with your doctor whether it is okay to start. In most cases, these exercises are perfectly safe when performed carefully and in moderation. For women with complications and whose babies are experiencing developmental issues, their doctors may recommend against exercise. Check out these pregnancy exercises at home and talk to your doctor to understand what works for you:

  • Brisk walking – Walking is highly recommended due to its moderate nature and ease of practice. Doctors recommend starting slow (especially if you haven’t had regular activity before) with 15 minutes of walking thrice a week. This can slowly increase to 30 minutes a day. Be sure you do not exhaust yourself with extensive walks
  • Swimming – Swimming is considered one of the safest and most effective exercises for pregnant women. The buoyancy allows you to get some much-needed relief from carrying your baby 24/7. It may also help to bring relief to your aching joints. If you do not know how to swim, consider using a wading pool. 
  • Low impact aerobics – Low impact exercises are those that have little to no impact on your joints. These can include treadmills/walking machines and stationary bicycles. All of these can strengthen your body while giving you a moderate workout. Pregnancy yoga is also a great choice as long as you have a trained instructor to guide you. 
  • Weight training – This may be appropriate as long as only light weights are used. Still, check with your doctor whether you can continue with weight training or not during your pregnancy. 

What to avoid with pregnancy exercise

A rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk freely while you exercise. If you are breathless and unable to speak freely then you should pull back on the intensity of your workout. 

Here are a few activities to avoid or reconsider if you are pregnant:

  • Activities that involve lying flat on your back after the first three months of pregnancy 
  • Any physically intensive sports (volleyball, football, etc)
  • Activities where falling is likely (horse riding, skiing, skating)

Pregnancy exercise – Why it’s important 

Pregnancy can feel physically (and psychologically) intense. The changes your body goes through may lead to fatigue, swollen ankles, various aches and pains. Apart from that, morning sickness and nausea as well as trouble sleeping are also common during pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy can provide a host of health benefits such as: 

  • Reduction in body aches, swelling and bloating.
  • Better mood, improved energy level.
  • It may help with getting better sleep.
  • Helps to avoid excessive weight during pregnancy.
  • Strength and endurance are increased.
  • Possible reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes.


Exercising during your pregnancy can surely bring some much needed-motivation and good feelings when you’re down. If your doctor gives you the green light and you don’t have any medical complications, make the most of these moderate exercises. Make sure you do the right ones only. Remember that staying hydrated, eating healthy and getting regular rest is as important as getting a healthy amount of exercise!  

Also read: Eating Right: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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