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Second trimester: Fitting in a fitness plan

As your body begins to undergo noticeable physical changes, you may wonder if it's safe to exercise. Generally, exercise during pregnancy can help you build strength and maintain energy for labor and delivery, and can make losing post-partum weight easier.

If you have an exercise regimen that you normally follow, it's usually fine to keep exercising, unless you have a specific pregnancy-related condition that makes exercise unsafe. Be sure to tell your doctor what kind of exercise you do, just to be on the safe side. As your pregnancy progresses, you may want to make some modifications to your exercise routine.

If you didn't exercise before you got pregnant, talk with your doctor about how to get started.

What kind of exercise is safe?

With your doctor's permission, you usually can start activities like these during pregnancy, even if you weren’t exercising before:

  • low impact aerobics
  • golf
  • rowing machine
  • stairmaster/stair climbing
  • swimming
  • walking
  • water aerobics
  • weight training

How often?

It's a good idea to exercise regularly and consistently, rather than in isolated or overly intense sessions. Try for three times a week, at a comfortable pace.

How intense?

You can gauge the intensity of your workout by taking the "talk test." You should be able to talk while exercising, without becoming out of breath.

Drink water!

Drink plenty of water before and after exercising. If your workout lasts more than 15 minutes, drink additional fluids during this time.

Stay cool!

After exercise, cool down for 15 minutes with slow walking or biking, to let your heart rate return to normal (less than 100 beats per minute, or 16 beats in 10 seconds).

As always, avoid exercising outdoors during the warmest part of the day. Your core temperature should not exceed 100.4 degrees. If you feel yourself getting overheated, slow down or stop.

Do not exercise if you are ill or have a fever.

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Source: Health Online, Inc.; Paradise Valley Community College Fitness Center, Phoenix, AZ

First published: 05/09/2000
Last updated: 10/14/2007

Reviewed by: Michael Slama, MD, Allina Health Mercy Women's Health Clinic