Being active is important during and after pregnancy. It can help you feel better right away such as:
- More energy
- Better mood
- Improve sleep
- Less stress
Physical activity can even make labor shorter and recovery faster. Being active can make it less likely you will have complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or postpartum depression. It will also make it easier to play and keep up with your kids as they grow.
How Much Activity Do Pregnant & Postpartum Women Need?
Always check with your doctor to discuss whether or how to adjust your physical activity routine during pregnancy and after the baby is born. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, you can begin or continue light- to moderate-intensity aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity unless you have a medical reason to avoid physical activity during or after your pregnancy. If you already do vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as running, you can continue doing so during and after your pregnancy.
Everyone needs a mix of physical activity during and after pregnancy. You can aim for these recommendations, but be as active as you are able:
- At least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking
- At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles
Lots of activities are safe during pregnancy. Listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right or it is too much, try another activity. It is recommended to avoid:
- Contact sports and anything where you could fall or get hit in the belly
- Lying flat on your back during activity after the first trimester (it causes problems with blood flow)
Types of Activity for Pregnant & Postpartum Women
Ready to Get More Active?
You can find ways to get more active no matter how active you were before pregnancy, or what stage of pregnancy you are at. The best way to get started is to focus on a light- to moderate-intensity activity, such as walking 5–15 minutes per session, 2–3 times a week. Walking is safe and easy, and you can do it almost anywhere.
Build a weekly activity plan and find tips for fitting activity into your daily routine from The Move Your Way Activity Planner.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2nd Edition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Move Your Way®, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention