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6 Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy


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When you think about pregnancy, it seems like the perfect opportunity to relax, chill and have a few laidback months. But, most people often confuse living a relaxed and comfortable life with a sedentary lifestyle.

Unless you have a very high-risk pregnancy (as suggested by your OBGYN), exercising and having a fit and healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy is an absolute must. Not only does it support the mother’s fitness throughout the pregnancy, but it also supports an easy delivery and optimal well-being and development of the fetus in the womb.

This article will walk you through the list of all the top benefits of exercise during pregnancy – both for your physical and mental well-being.

What kind of Exercise is Okay during Pregnancy?

Pregnancy introduces a lot of physical and physiological changes to a woman’s body. Growing a baby inside isn’t an easy job, especially not with a woman’s sudden change in hormonal balance and reproductive anatomy.

Exercising during pregnancy is encouraged, but you need to have your doctor’s consent before starting any exercise program. Some of the common situations that prevent exercising during pregnancy are:

  • Heart or lung disease in the mother
  • History of preeclampsia
  • Cervical complications
  • Persistent vaginal bleeding
  • Placental complications
  • Risks of preterm labor
  • Severe anemia, etc.

A comprehensive and open discussion about the permissible exercises with your doctor will give you a good idea of what’s okay and what’s not for you and the baby.

Some of the common permissible exercises during pregnancy include:

  • Strolls and walks
  • Riding a stationary bike
  • Light intensity Yoga
  • Light intensity Pilates
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises
  • Strength training
  • Stretching, etc.

Always avoid certain activities that involve excessive movement, stretching, or even laying flat on the stomach, especially during the first trimester when the fetus is in its primitive stages of growth. Also, avoid exercises that impose direct impact or trauma to the abdomen, including boxing.

What are the Benefits of Exercising during Pregnancy?

Now that you have a list of all the safety precautions and the dos and don’ts let us walk you through the benefits of exercise in pregnancy.

1. Improve Heart Health

Labor and delivery are extensive procedures that leave lasting impacts on the mother’s body. To go through the tedious procedure and even recuperate well.

Your heart is one of the most vital organs that needs extra attention as you navigate through the first few weeks of pregnancy to the last few until labor and delivery.

Exercising, in permissible amounts, has been found to have amazing benefits in improving stamina and even supporting the overall cardiovascular health of the mother.

2. Elevate Mood

“One second, you feel good, and the next second you don’t.”

This hot and cold situation is very prevalent during pregnancy and is a direct consequence of hormonal imbalance and changes in the body.

Studies report that around 50% of pregnant women are at risk of experiencing depression and anxiety during and after their pregnancy. However, research also suggests that exercising during pregnancy promotes the release of endorphins and “feel-good” hormones, which can proactively balance mood disorders.

3. Reduce Pregnancy Complications

Complications like gestational diabetes affect around 7-10% of pregnant women. This sudden rise in blood sugar levels is not just a risk for the mother but also a risk for the developing fetus inside the womb.

Consistent and supervised pregnancy exercises can also reduce the risks of preeclampsia and a potential cesarean birth during labor and delivery.

Indulging in light-intensity exercises like yoga, walking, stretching, etc., can ease complaints of constipation and back pain, making pregnancy hard on the soon-to-be mother.

4. Lower Blood Pressure Levels

If you have a history of miscarriage or pregnancy loss due to preeclampsia, indulging in exercise throughout the pregnancy can reduce the risks potentially.

Blood pressure is generally a little on the higher side throughout pregnancy. However, if the levels become unmanageable, things can take a turn for the worse.

Since exercising directly supports cardiovascular health, it isn’t surprising that regular low-intensity exercise also keeps blood pressure levels in check.

5. Overcome Fatigue and Lethargy

You will often hear several pregnant women constantly complain about feeling tired. As someone who isn’t pregnant, it is very easy for us to reply with phrases like, “But, why are you tired all the time? Didn’t you just take a nap?”

But, we need to realize that growing a baby is a tedious task. Keeping aside the weight of carrying a bump, the tiredness also comes from the changes in hormones and the drastic change to the body’s physiological functions.

Going on an evening stroll or signing up for pregnancy yoga can be a great way to beat tiredness and fatigue, about which most pregnant women often complain. It improves stamina and directly boosts the body’s energy levels.

6. Improve Sleep Quality

Sleep is a very crucial health marker during pregnancy. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, not only will you experience more fatigue, but it also leads to risks during labor and delivery.

Lack of sleep often leads to risks of sleep apnea, which can be bad for the mother and the baby in the long run. There are studies that also report possible connections between lack of quality sleep with heightened risks of:

  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes, etc.

When you indulge in regular exercising, even if it’s a 30-minute walk in the park, it can support and regulate your sleep cycle. You will more likely get quality sleep throughout the night and have a safe and comfortable pregnancy without any potential risk or complications.


Leading an active lifestyle and integrating exercises during pregnancy can be amazing for both the mother and the baby. However, always discuss your best options with your doctor before proceeding. Confirm what’s right for your body and what is off-limits before signing up for an exercise class. Also, avoid over-exerting yourself during the delicate months of your pregnancy term. Just keep one goal in mind – listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable doing.


When should I start exercising during pregnancy?

There is no “standard” time to start exercise during pregnancy. You can start it at any point during your pregnancy term.

Does the baby move more after exercise?

Indulging in aerobic exercises during the second trimester has been found to directly affect and improve fetal movement in the mother’s womb. Studies report that the increase in the baby’s movement is a direct physiological response by the fetus.

Is walking enough exercise while pregnant?

If you feel comfortable with only walking while pregnant, it is enough for your body. Every woman’s body experiences different things during pregnancy. So, instead of following the “norm,” do what you think is the best for your body and the baby.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.


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