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Physical Activity When Planning a Pregnancy


woman and man walking with bicycles


Being active every day is incredibly beneficial for health, especially when you're planning a pregnancy.

Research shows that just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference to your physical and mental health.

Regular physical activity will help you to:

  • maintain a healthy body weight, builds stronger muscles
  • control blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of heart attack
  • increase resistance to disease, including adult onset diabetes
  • reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting relaxation
  • improve your self esteem, confidence, overall mental state and sleep
  • feel more energetic

If you are new to physical activity, start slowly and progress gradually. It's best to combine different types of activities:

  • Endurance or Aerobic activities are best for strengthening the heart and lungs.
      • Try: brisk walking, cycling, dancing, and continuous swimming
  • Weight bearing or Strength activities strengthen muscles and bones and improve your posture.
      • Try: weight/strength training routines, climbing stairs, abdominal curls and push ups, and lifting and carrying activities
  • Flexibility activities involve bending and stretching and help to keep your muscles and joints mobile.
      • Try: yoga, tai chi, dancing and stretching exercises. 

Your biggest challenge may be getting started. Here are some tips:

  • Try something you enjoy. You'll be more likely to stick with it.
  • Consider joining a social group, such as a walking or running club, to make physical activity more fun.
  • Before you start any new exercise routine, check with your health care provider to make sure you don’t have any medical or physical limitations.

Make time for physical activity

If it's a challenge to fit the full 30 minutes of activity into your day, aim for 10 minutes of activity at a time, three times a day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Park farther away from your destination and take the stairs whenever possible.
  • Plan breaks during the day to stretch or go for a walk or a quick bike ride.
  • Keep busy around the house with active tasks like gardening or housework.

Resources & Links: 
Canada’s guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy
Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living
BC’s Physical Activity Line

Last Updated: August 2, 2013