Pregnancy Information Center

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Fit Pregnancy: How to Stay Active in Your 40 Weeks


You don't have to give up your workouts just because baby’s on the way

Updated December 30, 2015

By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie

If you’re worried about having to skip your regular workouts now that you’re pregnant, don’t stress: you don’t have to trade in your sneaks for slippers. With a few exceptions (no downhill skiing, contact sports or scuba diving), you can keep doing many of the things you did before you were pregnant — in moderation. Talk to your healthcare provider about what’s safe for you specifically, but, in general, know that you can keep up these exercises throughout your 40 weeks:


Olympic marathoners Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe all made headlines for running throughout their pregnancies. If you were a regular runner before becoming pregnant, you can likely continue. Just don’t expect to keep the same pace you did before (it will take more effort to keep even a slower pace). If the bouncing of running becomes uncomfortable as you progress, brisk walking can make a good alternative. 

Tip: Stick to a pace that allows you to chat with a running partner in order to ensure you’re not overdoing it.


Lifting weights

Strengthening your muscles can help to ease some of the typical aches and pains of pregnancy — not to mention get you ready for hoisting that bundle of joy around with you in a few months! But do not lift heavy weights! Keep them on the lighter side: use weights that you can comfortably lift at least 10 times.

Tip: Avoid jerky movements since pregnancy loosens up the ligaments that support joints, making them more prone to injury. Do exercises in a smooth, controlled fashion, sticking to manageable weights (no power lifting).


Racquet Sports

If tennis and other racquet sports are your thing, you can keep playing during pregnancy, but just like running, expect to slow down your game. 

Tip: The extra weight in the front of your body shifts your center of balance, which makes quick movements risky, so keep it in control to avoid falls or other injuries.

For general safety tips on exercising while pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider or read this.


Published October 17, 2011. 

Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie is a health and fitness writer, as well as a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. She regularly contributes to national magazines including Fitness, Shape and SELF, and is the author of Tone Every Inch.

Reviewed by Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG on October 5, 2015.
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