What you haven’t heard about moderate exercise and pregnancy

Let’s start off by acknowledging that just being pregnant can feel like moderate exercise in and of itself. You’re growing a human. That’s a lot of physical effort!

But even beyond growing a human, additional exercise can be very helpful for you and for the little human you are growing. Even MODERATE exercise – the kind that involves “moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing.”

Specifically, in the situation of a normal, healthy pregnancy, ACOG recommends that most folks get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day while pregnant.

This is because exercise is strongly associated with fewer unwanted Cesareans, healthy weight gain during pregnancy, and better gestational diabetes outcomes. There is also some association (though not as strong) between exercising a moderate amount at moderate intensity and reduced perinatal depression, reduced instances of hypertension and preeclampsia, and lower the length of labors (check out this review article for more info).

What if you haven’t been exercising before? You may have heard that you shouldn’t start any new exercise regimes while pregnant. This is actually untrue. Research has found that starting healthy new exercise regimes during pregnancy when you didn’t have one before can help improve your health outcomes and those of your baby. Talk to your medical care provider about what kinds of moderate exercise might be right for you!

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