The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that women who are pregnant or postpartum should engage in regular physical activity, under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Recommendations
Keep it up. Women who regularly engaged in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or who were physically active before pregnancy, can continue these activities during their pregnancy and postpartum period for 150 minutes per week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity includes activities such as a brisk walk, playing tennis or raking the yard.
Vigorous-intensity physical activity includes activities such as running, jogging, carrying heavy groceries upstairs, shoveling snow or participating in a strenuous fitness class.
Add it in. Women who did not regularly engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or were not physically active before pregnancy, should engage in moderate physical activity during their pregnancy and postpartum period for 150 minutes per week.
Speak with your doctor. Women who are pregnant should be under the care of a health care provider who can monitor the progress of the pregnancy and answer and questions about physical activity during their pregnancy.
Health Benefits of Physical Activity
- Reduced risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression
- Brain health benefits, including possible improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, improved sleep and quality of life
- Reduced risk of further disease or early death and improved physical function and quality of life for people with various chronic medical conditions
Physical activity can be safely done by almost everyone. However, pregnant and postpartum women should be under the care of a health care provider if they have chronic conditions to see what physical activity would be most appropriate.
Choose activities that fit your level of fitness and health goals. Remember to increase physical activity gradually with low intensity activities and slowly moving to more intense activities. Always use appropriate sports and protective equipment to stay safe in your chosen physical activity!