How much should I exercise during pregnancy?

How much you need to exercise during pregnancy depends on many factors, including:

  • Your pre-pregnancy weight
  • The amount of time you are on your feet during the day
  • If you have diabetes or develop gestational diabetes
  • Your age
  • Your gestational age

Let’s examine each factor. If you are near ideal weight at the time you become pregnant exercise will be less of an issue. If you are overweight exercise can reduce excessive weight gain. Too much weight gain can increase your risk of gestational diabetes. This can actually program the child in your womb for diabetes as an adult or adolescent.

However, too much exercise is not good either. Studies have shown that if you are on your feet during pregnancy more than 5 hours a day, you do not need additional exercise. You can actually overdo it and deliver less nutrition to your baby. Keep that in mind when you develop an exercise program.

If you have diabetes when you become pregnant or develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy then moderate exercise is very important for you. By that I mean 45 minutes of walking 4 to 5 times a week. Swimming is also a good form of exercise. Stay away from high impact exercises like running or step aerobics. Yoga is a great way to exercise during pregnancy. Hilaria Baldwin the wife of Alec Baldwin has practiced it throughout her current pregnancy.

Your age is also a factor. Older women are more prone to gestational diabetes and since exercise can help reduce the need for insulin or medications it is a more essential the older you are. If you are over the age of 30, make a commitment to moderate exercise four to five times a week.

As your pregnancy progresses exercise will get more difficult and you will definitely feel more tired and fatigued. Exercise will be the last thing on your mind. Just try to get up and move every hour. Build movement into you daily routine. Try to walk one flight of stairs a day. Do a little yard work. Walk around the house while you straighten it up.

Also after pregnancy, exercise and breast feeding are healthy ways to lose weight. A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that moms who lose weight between pregnancies deliver babies who are less likely to be overweight and have weight issues as they grow up. One author of the study Arun Jain, MD said “Obese women could lose a relatively small amount of weight between pregnancies, as little as 12 pounds. They will be significantly less likely to have a large baby than an obese woman who maintained or gained weight between pregnancies. It’s an achievable weight loss that provides the next generation with a healthier start to life.”

The final message is to look at your exercise needs. If you are over 30 when you become pregnant, perhaps a bit overweight and you have a sedentary job, exercise regularly 40 to 50 minutes four to six times a week. If you are in your early 20’s, slender and have a job like nursing that requires you to be on your feet all day then exercise is less important.

Dr. Mark Gostine

About Dr. Mark Gostine

A physician for more than 30 years. He is a proud father of four and a grandfather of two. The announcement of his daughter Emily’s first pregnancy and the joy of his first grandchild, were major turning points in his life. They became the inspiration for babyQ. From then on, he wanted to dedicate his clinical knowledge and energy to helping young women have healthier pregnancies and better babies. Voted one of the best 100 doctors in his field in America, Dr. Gostine is a practitioner of nutrition who creates health education modules for his patients. He, along with Dr. of my children,” he says. “My hope is that young mothers and fathers everywhere will give their children the best start because it is so much better to prevent disease early than treat it later.” Dr. Gostine, a native of Michigan, received his medical degree from Wayne State University College of Medicine in Detroit, and is Board Certified in both anesthesiology and pain management. He completed his undergraduate studies and his medical residency in anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, followed by a pain management fellowship at the Kansas City Consortium in Missouri. Currently President of Michigan Pain Consultants and Founder of ProCare Systems, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.