July: Physical Activity in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

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PregnancyPhysical activity should be a part of all Americans lives including women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnancy can serve as a good motivator to start making healthy changes. Walking is a perfect way to be active whether you—re new or returning to physical activity or even an experienced athlete.

Is exercising during pregnancy safe? The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that in healthy women the risks are very low. The scientific evidence shows that moderate-intensity activity does not increase the risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery or pregnancy loss. Keep in mind that as your baby develops your center of gravity shifts forward, making it easier to lose your balance. Hormonal changes cause ligaments to relax which can increase your risk for injury. The bottom line is that you need to listen to your body and to the baby. It is important, however, to consult your physician to discuss what is appropriate for you during pregnancy and to learn about warning signs to discontinue physical activity.

Evaluate your current activity level and set a goal to work up to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week or at least 150 minutes throughout the week. Think about times during the day you could increase, such as, parking farther away, walking during your lunch or break times.

For more information, contact the author: Audra Losey, MS, RD, Extension Educator with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (ENFEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

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