Nurturing life Your reference in perinatal nutrition, from pregnancy to childhood

Can a pregnant woman engage in physical activity?

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By : Nurturing Life's Nutrition Team | Montreal Diet Dispensary

Yes, current knowledge shows that there is no risk in being physically active during pregnancy if no problems are noted. In fact, it is even recommended to include at least 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week of average intensity exercise.

Physical activity during pregnancy brings several benefits to the physical and psychological health of the mother and her baby. Here are some examples:

  • For the mother:
    • increase in energy levels
    • better quality of sleep
    • stress reduction
    • decrease in certain pregnancy-related discomforts such as constipation, back pain, feet swelling and shortness of breath;
  • For the baby:
    • reduced risk of low birth weight
    • reduced risk of preterm birth.

Another significant effect is that physical activity could prevent or reduce some pregnancy-related health problems such as gestational diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia (convulsions that are harmful to the baby).

However, if the pregnant woman has health problems (heart disease, restrictive lung disease, extreme obesity, anemia, etc.) or pregnancy-related problems (previous episodes of early labor or low birth-weight baby, blood loss, placenta previa – a placenta that is too low in the uterus -, etc.), it is advisable to see a doctor before doing any type of physical activity.

The different types of physical activity that a pregnant woman can do are presented in the following edition.


  • Institut de santé publique. (2011). Le portail d’information prénatale. Fiche : Activité physique et mieux-être
  • Société des obstétriciens et des gynécologues du Canada. 2009. Healthy beginnings: Giving your baby the best start, from preconception to birth. 4e Edition. Pages 29-30; 47-50
  • SOGC/CSEP. (2003). Clinical Practice Guideline: Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum. Period. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 2003;28(3): 329-341.


The Public Health Agency of Canada has contributed financially to the production of Nurturing Life.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.