Expert Health Articles

Fit Pregnancy Tips

Crystal McGrain, APRN-CNP

Certified Nurse Practitioner
Blanchard Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology

Physical activity is important in all stages of life, pregnancy included! Many women desire to adopt a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy or maintain their current fitness level. In most cases, this is achievable and desirable for the overall health of mom and baby. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind to have a fit pregnancy.

Talk with your provider

Most pregnant women can exercise! In the absence of medical complications, physical activity in pregnancy is safe and desirable. In fact, inactivity and excessive weight gain have been recognized as risk factors for pregnancy complications.

Consider modifications to your current exercise regimen

Your body will be going through major changes as your pregnancy progresses, including weight gain and a shift in your center of gravity. Balance and posture are affected. Exercises that have been extensively studied and found to be safe in pregnancy include walking, stationary cycling, aerobic exercises, dancing, resistance exercises, water aerobics and swimming.

Stay well-hydrated

Temperature regulation is dependent on water intake and environmental conditions. Pregnant women often feel most comfortable in an air-conditioned environment during physical activity. Wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid high-heat environments to protect yourself from heat stress, especially in the first trimester.

Use the “talk test” to measure exertion level

As long as you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you are not likely to over-exert yourself. Your goal should be moderate-intensity exercise for 20 to 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.

Watch for warnings signs

If you experience any of the following, you should discontinue exercise and contact your healthcare provider: vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, regular painful contractions, leaking of fluid, dizziness, chest pain or muscle weakness. Notify your provider if you are having any concerning symptoms while exercising.


Stretching before and after exercise can help to relieve many aches and pains associated with pregnancy. It also promotes circulation and can reduce pregnancy-related swelling. Be sure to stretch slowly and hold stretches for 30 to 40 seconds. Be careful not to overstretch, hormones in pregnancy relax and loosen ligaments. Stretching should feel good, not painful.

Stay off your back

Lying on your back during exercise can decrease blood flow to you and your baby. Modify exercises that you would normally do lying flat or replace them. Core strengthening exercises are still important and can be achieved with variations on planks.

Do your Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which are used during childbirth. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for a count of three. Relax. Squeeze again! Repeat 10 to 15 times in a row. You can do Kegel exercises anytime and anywhere.

Eat 300 extra calories a day

Having a light snack before and after exercise will help keep your energy levels up.

Just keep walking

No matter what other exercise you do, try to walk when you can. Take a lunchtime walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator and get your steps in for the day!

Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risk and shown to have benefits for both mom and baby. Talk to your provider and get moving to enjoy the benefits of a fit pregnancy!