Should I Avoid Certain Types of Exercise During Pregnancy?

I’ve always enjoyed doing different kinds of exercise and want to try to stay in shape now that I’m pregnant. Are there activities or exercises I should steer clear of?

For most pregnant women, low-impact exercise is a great way to feel better, look better, and help prepare the body for labor. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, stick to low-impact exercise instead of high-impact, which can cause increased pressure on the structures within the uterus.

It's wise to avoid some exercises and activities, including:

  • exercises that require lying on your back (such as sit-ups)
  • contact sports that can increase the risk of abdominal injury (hockey, football, wrestling, soccer, etc.)
  • sports that can put you at risk for falling (like gymnastics, horseback riding, skiing, or skating)
  • scuba diving

Some of the healthy ways pregnant women can stay fit include walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and pilates. But be sure to talk to your health care provider before starting — or continuing — any exercise routine during pregnancy.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: November 2011

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