3 Myths About Exercise and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the greatest physical changes a body can experience. Staying or becoming physically active during this time can be a great way to support these changes. Growing research suggests that even something as simple as a walk around the block or a few yoga stretches in the living room can have big benefits for you and your baby. Here are a few myths about exercising while pregnant that are due to be debunked.


If you didn’t exercise before becoming pregnant, you should not start now.

Not true! Pregnancy is actually a great time to begin an exercise routine – even if you didn’t regularly exercise before. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition recommends:

Pregnant or postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, such as brisk walking, during and after their pregnancy.


150 minutes may seem like a lot if you are struggling to keep food down in the early stages of pregnancy or huffing and puffing just trying to get your shoes on in the later stages. It is better to spread the time through the week and you can also break it up into small chunks. Any time counts towards the guideline.

An important rule of thumb before beginning any prenatal exercise program is to consult with your physician. If you exercised before, don’t feel like you need to exercise at your former level; do what is most comfortable for you now.

Important note: take extra precaution or avoid activities with an increased risk for falling such as skiing or snowboarding, horseback riding, or riding a bicycle. Talk you doctor about continuing these activities.


The only reason to exercise while pregnant is to lose weight after the baby is born.

While postpartum exercise may be a component of post-partum weight loss, there are so many other great reasons to exercise that benefit both you and your baby:

For the mother, benefits include:

  • Decrease in pregnancy weight gain
  • Reduced risk of complications while pregnant and during delivery
  • Less low back and pelvic pain later in pregnancy
  • Faster post-delivery recovery
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Staying regular (active body = active bowels)
  • Boosted mood
  • Increased energy and less fatigue
  • Better sleep

For the baby:

  • Decreased chance of premature delivery
  • Improved cardiac function (lower heart rate and fitter heart at birth)
  • Decreased incidence of obesity and diabetes


Lifting weights when pregnant is dangerous.

False! In fact, both the American College of Sports Medicine1, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists2 lists resistance exercise, including lifting weights, as safe during pregnancy.  Experts agree, so long as you clear it with your healthcare provider and are not experiencing any pregnancy-related health conditions, lifting weights is okay if you’re pregnant.

This does not mean, if you are new to lifting weights, you should jump into an extreme program. You should follow best practices for working out when you are pregnant: lift lighter weights, pay close attention to your form, and try different routines to accommodate your changing ability (and center of gravity!) When done correctly, strength training has benefits beyond those listed in Myth #1 like strengthening your back and core muscles to support your changing body.

While being pregnant can introduce new cautions to your lifestyle, staying fit is recommended at all stages of life. The benefits are real and worth the effort. Consider making exercise part of your routine while pregnant to keep you and your baby healthy.



1 https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/pregnancy-physical-activity.pdf

2 https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period


We want you to be well and to live your best life. The content in this blog is provided for the purposes to educate and entertain you: our very important reader. It is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice from a trained healthcare professional.

If you have a medical condition or are under the care of a medical provider, please always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before undertaking a new health care regimen. To that point, never disregard medical advice or delay treatment for a medical condition because of something you read on this site.

Listen to your care providers as they know you and your condition best. Thank you for reading!

The Team at BSDI

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