Prenatal exercise: Listen to your body

prenatal exerciseOne of the questions I ask all of my patients during their first trimester is if they currently exercise and what their plans are for prenatal exercise.

Exercise is vital to the health of a pregnant woman, not only for her physical health, but also for her mental well-being. The numerous benefits of exercise include helping to maintain your body weight during pregnancy and helping to prevent and control gestational diabetes. Exercise is also powerful in preventing depression.

As your body changes during your pregnancy, some exercise choices are naturally less appealing.  Swimming is always a wonderful choice for exercise because there is little or no impact on your body.

As you get farther along in your pregnancy, you’ll notice that your balance is not as good. That is why sports that can cause you to fall (biking, skiing, horseback riding) are not recommended.  Also, be careful of sports that include physical contact like basketball and soccer.

um wh prenatal yoga event promoBe Aware

There are so many benefits to exercise, but there are some issues to be aware of when you are pregnant.

  • Avoid stretching to the point of resistance. Your body is producing hormones to relax ligaments, and it is easier to damage ligaments.
  • Pregnant women tend to get dehydrated easier, so make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Don’t power through a workout or a run. You need to be aware what your body is saying. 
  • Even just walking is a good endurance exercise.

Exercise, in any form, is a way to increase all of the good things your body does. There are some issues that limit the amount of exercise that a woman can do during pregnancy, however. Talk to your healthcare provider about what is appropriate for you.


amy tremper, mdAmy Tremper, MD, is an OBGYN at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.  Her areas of interest include exercise in women and OBGYN care for the physically handicapped. Prior to earning her medical degree, Dr. Tremper received a degree in physical therapy. Her outside interests include gardening, cooking, swimming and travel.



university of michigan women's hospitalThe birth center at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital opened in December 2011, offering women a state-of-the-art place to welcome their baby to the world in the most caring and comfortable way possible.  From private rooms to birthing tubs, each feature was designed around mom and baby’s every need.  Learn more at www.UofMhealth.org/birthcenter.