Is It Safe To Exercise During Pregnancy?


excersing during pregnancy

It’s deadly! Don’t do it!!! No, wait, that’s me.

As for you, well, the answer depends on how much you exercised before getting pregnant.

If you were a die hard gym bunny then you’re fine to keep working out. The only worry is that you’ll be all large and in charge, lose your balance and wipe out on an elliptical trainer. Your body also produces a hormone called relaxin which loosens your joints (so your body can unhinge like a snake’s jaw when you’re ready to give birth) and some say this leaves you more vulnerable to injuries. Many of these sites make it sound like you’re walking around like a drunken marionette so I’d take that one with a grain of salt.

If you have never worked out before, this isn’t really the time to introduce your body to new stuff – it’s kind of busy making a person – so you may want to wait to do the hard core bootycamp stuff until after the baby gets here. Why you would want to do this is beyond me anyway as I used both my pregnancies as an excuse to reach George Foreman’s fighting weight but you may be more sensitive to packing on the luscious.

Generally speaking, any kind of exercise is fine. Some women develop something called diastasis recti – typically in their third trimester or after they’ve given birth – which is when your “six pack” ab muscles separate and it is advised the you avoid crunches and planks because it can exacerbate the problem.

As long as you aren’t overheating, becoming dehydrated or over exerting yourself, exercising is fine, but frankly, that kind of common sense should apply to everyone. “Gee, I should stop running if I start to vomit and feel faint? Thanks for the tip!” I don’t know why some people feel it necessary to restate these things to pregnant women but some people seem to think your brain drops out of your ass once you conceive. Just nod politely as you blow by them in the marathon.

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  • it’s all about common sense, fo’ sho’! in my first pregnancy I ran 2 full marathons (one at 7weeks and one at a million-pee-stops-in-those-26-miles 30 weeks)….but this was scaling back from a typical 5-8 marathons per year, so my ob gave me the ol’ green light to continue–as long as it felt good! I never had physical issues with any of it and ran up until the day I delivered—but had I felt like laying down on deaths door asking to be let in asap, I wouldn’t have done any of it. (which is what I’m feeling now as I’m currently pregnant with baby #2—all this kid wants me to do is lay in a hammock and eat Cheetos–so i’ll scale back to just some running with this one, because growing a person is enough work, no need to piss it off!)

  • People who don’t know me very well keep saying things like "you’re going to stop running soon, right?" (I’m 17 weeks). I then laugh in the their face when I tell them I plan to run until the day I deliver, and register for another half marathon.

  • One thing to consider if you’re going to run while pregnant, is what’s happening to your pelvic floor with that amount of impact. I was chatting with my friend who is a fantastic physical therapist, athlete, and mom about this. And she said when weighing the risk and rewards, she advises patients and friends to forego running during pregnancy. Apparently, running a great deal during pregnancy can make it even harder to rehab your pelvic floor after birth, and can increase the chances of incontinence. It seems like most of the accounts out there I’ve read/heard have been pretty hardcore runners. I asked my PT if slow light jogging was ok, and she said maybe yes, maybe no, and asked if I was willing to risk it. She suggested cardio with far less impact: elliptical, or the stairs at the park, climbing them, not running them. I take the stairs two at a time and it gets my heart rate up, feels like a great workout for my legs and ass, and I get outside for fresh air. Definitely helps me feel better about the fact that I won’t be running until after I’ve healed from having a baby.

  • I’m in my first trimester, pregnant for the second time after miscarrying last summer. I am also a runner who was in the middle of training for a half marathon when I found out I was pregnant this time, and have been advised by my nurses to stop with the training, at least during the "danger" weeks (5-8), then start up again slowly with physical activities. During my first pregnancy I made no attempt at all to cut back on activities (having read that active people should keep being active), but slowing down this time around, paying extra close attention to my body and making relaxation a priority has been extremely beneficial to my physical comfort and to my peace of mind.

  • I just love your blog posts. They are hilarious. The large and in charge falling off the eliptical is hilarious. I had no idea, however, that a blog post could elicit such heated sentiment. I'll stay out of the crossfit debate. BUT, I did want to mention that there is new research about getting fitter in pregnancy. Not only is it possible, it is encouraged. So even if you didn't exercise before pregnancy, it doesn't mean you shouldn't put on the walking shoes and start to exercise aerobically in your pregnancy. Perils of the elipical aside, one should take the risk! 🙂 For more information, visit Angie

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