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10 Myths About Prenatal Exercise Debunked

By michellehorton |

I credit much of my healthy, complication-free pregnancy to the fact that I got my butt out of bed every morning and exercised (minus the first and last couple of weeks).

The benefits of prenatal exercise are undisputed — for both mom and baby. In fact, many experts say that being inactive is the real risk, leading to high blood pressure, excessive aches and pains, and a high risk for gestational diabetes. Even just moderate activity (like brisk walking) will keep your heart rate up, get your blood circulating, and keep your body in shape for labor.

But there are a lot of myths circulating about prenatal exercise, scaring women off from being active. After the jump, I tackle each myth, debunking it with a mix of research and personal experience …

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10 Myths About Prenatal Exercise Debunked

1. If you weren't active before pregnancy, you can't be active now

It's common belief that if you did (blank) before pregnancy, you can (blank) during your pregnancy. While helpful to those who've always been active, it can be confusing to those women who don't know where to get started. What if I used to be a runner, and I haven't laced up in a year? What if I wasn't too active — how much is safe now?

According to Raul Artal, MD, lead author of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) guidelines on prenatal exercise, "nowhere in the medical literature does it say that moderate exercise such as walking is unsafe, even for previously sedentary women." For normal, healthy pregnancies, Artal recommends walking 30 to 60 minutes a day, broken up however you'd like. The ACOG recommends that previously inactive women should start slowly — beginning with as little as 5 minutes of exercise a day and adding 5 minutes each week until they can stay active for 30 minutes a day.

Photo: Flickr/janineomg

Bottom line: Talk to your doctor, stay hydrated, and always listen to your body. But above all else — start moving!


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Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.

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More on Babble:

The top benefits of prenatal exercise

6 ways to stay hydrated during pregnancy

The dos and don’ts of working out while pregnant

10 safe exercises just for pregnant women

10 benefits of prenatal yoga

More on Babble

About michellehorton



Michelle Horton is the founder of Early Mama, an award-winning site that proves young motherhood doesn’t have to define or limit us. When not writing, she’s typically pretending to be a superhero in her 4-year-old son’s imaginative play. Read bio and latest posts → Read Michelle's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “10 Myths About Prenatal Exercise Debunked

  1. Hyman says:

    I believed most of these!!!

  2. Terra says:

    I especially agree with the advice to do yoga during pregnancy….. my “yoga breathing” and relaxing techiniques that I’d learned from Bikram yoga was what saved me during my un-medicated birth!

    1. michellehorton says:

      I very much agree with you, Terra. I had the same experience.

  3. Erin says:

    I went to Zumba classes right up to my due date. This was by far my easiest pregnancy and birth, and I’m pretty happy at how well my body has bounced back so far. I just had a 10 pound baby at home 2 days ago. I’m also over 30!

  4. Cassy says:

    I love reading about different pregnancy myths, you always find something new! I like this particular post because it focused solely on the myths related to exercise…very helpful. :) Check out this forum to post the wackiest pregnancy myth you’ve ever heard and to read up on others from around the world, kinda fun!

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