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Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

I recently found out that I'm pregnant. Can I continue exercising safely during my pregnancy?
- Katie

Exercising during pregnancy can make you feel great and help you develop the stamina needed for giving birth. Yoga, swimming, and walking are all great options, but avoid high-impact exercises that involve jumping, bouncing, lifting, or sit-ups.

Also avoid activities that can cause you to fall and injure your abdomen (like horseback riding, skiing, or contact sports). Scuba diving also should be avoided during pregnancy, since it can create gas bubbles in the blood of the developing fetus, which can be dangerous.

If you were a runner or cyclist before your pregnancy, you might be able to continue running or cycling, although you may have to modify your routine.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends at least 150 minutes (that's 2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week for "healthy women who are not already highly active or doing vigorous-intensity activity." If you were very active or did intense aerobic activities before you were pregnant, you can probably keep up with your workouts, as long as your doctor gives the OK. Keep in mind that as your due date approaches, you may need to modify your fitness regimen.

While some exercises may be safe for some pregnant woman, they may not be safe for others. Talk to your doctor about what's best for you.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014