Physical Activity During Pregnancy

Healthy pregnant women should be physically active.

  • Talk to your doctor or midwife before starting or changing your activities or if there is a change in your pregnancy.  Ask them about exercises and activities that are safe for you.  Ask them about the PARmed-X guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy
  • If you were active three times a week for 30 minutes each time before getting pregnant, you can safely be physically active during pregnancy.
  • If you were not regularly active before pregnancy, the best time to start activities is after your 12th week when the risks and discomforts of pregnancy are at their lowest.

Good activities to do during pregnancy are:

  • walking
  • stationary cycling
  • swimming
  • using an elliptical trainer machine
  • low impact aerobics

Safety guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy

Here are some guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy:

  • Avoid activities that require sudden starts or stops, jumping or rapid changes in direction.
  • Always warm up your muscles before activity and stretch after your activity.
  • Drink water before, during and after your activity to replace body fluids.
  • Never exercise on an empty stomach; eat a light snack 30 to 60 minutes before exercising.
  • Avoid being active in warm, humid weather, especially during the first trimester or when you are sick with a fever.
  • Check the temperature of a heated pool before swimming. Avoid hot tubs, hot yoga, saunas and whirlpools.
  • Avoid activities that require you to lie on your back after four months or 16 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, do the activities while lying on your side, sitting or standing.
  • Be careful doing activities where you may lose balance, such as horseback riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics or cycling. Do not go scuba diving.

How to exercise during pregnancy

Here are some resources to help you learn about exercise during pregnancy:

Watch these videos to learn about being active during your pregnancy:

Call the Exercise and Pregnancy Help Line at 1-866-937-7678     

Contact us

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