Exercising While Pregnant Helps Both Mom and Baby

There is so much excitement and happiness surrounding the time when a woman finds out she is going to be a mom. Most moms-to-be want to do everything and anything possible to make sure baby is as healthy as possible.

When it comes to exercising while pregnant the benefits outweigh the risks. Research has shown that there are no negative effects to safe pregnancy exercises.

Rather, here are benefits of exercising while pregnant:

  • Reduce backache, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • May help prevent, or control, gestational diabetes
  • Increase energy and improves mood
  • Improve and maintain good posture
  • Promote general muscle tone, strength and endurance. Women who exercise during pregnancy have shown to gain up to 8 pounds less than those who do not.
  • May improve your ability to cope with labor
  • Return to pre-pregnancy strength & flexibility faster
  • With all the positive effects of exercise during pregnancy, there are still some more general dos and don'ts once starting a fitness routine.

Do

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after
  • Eat healthy calories to support the needs of exercise as well as pregnancy
    • Try to  finish eating at least 1 hour before exercise to avoid heartburn
  • Make sure you are outfitted in the proper gear from your shoes to your sports bra
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise four to five days a week

Don't

  • Participate in activities involving rapid, uncontrollable bouncing or swinging, as well as contact sports and any sports with a fall risk
  • Exercise when it is hot and humid
  • Exercise to the point of breathlessness or exhaustion
    • Use "The Talk Test" - if you are unable to hold a conversation while you exercise, you are working too hard.

One way to learn more about exercise and pregnancy is to join the Good Shepard Penn Partners How to Have a Safe and Active Pregnancy class. At this virtual class, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants will go over:

  • Proper posture to reduce stress and strain on the body
  • Proper lifting and carrying techniques
  • Common pregnancy related conditions 
  • Exercise guidelines and specific exercises to reduce stress and strain on the body

Sign up for Good Shepherd Penn Partners' new virtual pregnancy classes.


About the Therapist:
Morgan Pepe BS, PTA, is a treating therapist assistant at Penn Therapy & Fitness Pennsylvania Hospital- Outpatient.