Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women
Learn more about key recommendations for women during pregnancy and the postpartum period from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionpdf iconexternal icon. [PDF-15.2MB]
Is it okay to be physically active while I’m pregnant and after I have my baby?
Yes! If you are a healthy pregnant or postpartum woman, physical activity is good for your overall health. For example, moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, keeps your heart and lungs healthy during and after pregnancy. Physical activity also helps improve your mood throughout pregnancy and after birth. After you have your baby, exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight, and when combined with eating fewer calories, helps with weight loss.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are pregnant, you should be under the care of a doctor who can monitor the progress of the pregnancy. Consult your doctor about whether or how to adjust your physical activity during and after your pregnancy.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition —
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. It is best to spread this activity throughout the week.
Women who already do vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as running, can continue doing so during and after their pregnancy.
Any Amount of Time is Fine
We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Not only is it best to spread your physical activity out during the week, but you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. As long as your aerobic physical activity is a moderate or vigorous effort, any amount of time counts toward meeting the aerobic guideline.
Are there risks involved with physical activity and pregnancy?
According to scientific evidence, the risks of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, are very low for healthy pregnant women. Physical activity does not increase your chances of low-birth weight, early delivery, or early pregnancy loss.
What are some things to keep in mind when I do physical activity during and after my pregnancy?
Unless you have a medical reason to avoid physical activity during or after your pregnancy, you can begin or continue moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.
For more information on moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, visit the Active Adults section.