UNC Health Talk

Staying Active During Pregnancy

Taking it easy during pregnancy may seem like a good idea for you and your baby’s health, but staying active could be beneficial too! Unless you’re experiencing serious complications, adding exercise to your daily routine (or continuing your exercise routine) can help in many ways.

Exercise during pregnancy can:

  • Ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts
  • Boost your mood and energy levels
  • Help you sleep better
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Increase stamina and muscle strength

Exercise during pregnancy may also help reduce your risk for gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and having a baby with larger than average birth weight. Some studies also show that exercise during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester, may lower your risk or lessen symptoms of postpartum depression. If you’re worried about your unborn baby’s safety, take heart. Physical activity during pregnancy doesn’t increase your chances for low birth weight, early delivery or early pregnancy loss.

Keep moving

Adding movement to your day can be as simple as going for a walk. Choose exercises that place minimal stress on your joints. Swimming, cycling on a stationary bike, low-impact aerobics and prenatal yoga are all good low-impact activities to try. Avoid exercises with jumping or jarring movements, or quick changes of direction that could throw off your balance. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to take your exercise down a notch or take days off when you feel tired.

Exercise safely

Be sure to heed your doctor’s recommendations for exercise during pregnancy. Avoid any exercises that involve lying flat on your back after your first trimester.

Paying attention to your body is very important, especially while pregnant. As you exercise, you should watch for signs that everything might not be OK. Stop exercising and contact your doctor if you experience pain, bleeding, fluid leaking from your vagina, faintness or dizziness, uneven or rapid heartbeat, or if you notice the baby stops moving.

REX Women’s Center offers comprehensive obstetric care, covering all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. To learn more, download our Pregnancy Information Packet.