A global health crisis is an unusual time to be pregnant, to say the least. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about it – some women may be comforted by recommendations to stay inside, while others may find that social distancing provokes anxiety and feelings of isolation.

It’s important for expectant and new mothers to understand that they are still very much in control of their own health and wellness during this time. “I’m a firm believer that the healthier you are, the better your pregnancy will be,” says Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica, an OB/GYN of 14 years, specializing in high-risk prenatal care.

“Pregnant women always ask me, ‘can I continue to exercise while I’m pregnant?’. Even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life, pregnancy is a great time to begin. Think of pregnancy as your 9 months of training before the marathon, except in this case, the marathon is labor and delivery!”

Lynn-Marie Aronica, MD

OB/GYN, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo

Sheltering in place may create ideal circumstances for what is essentially a glorified bed rest. What more is there to do than sleep, and catch up on Netflix? Enjoy your relaxation, but Dr. Aronica cautions against falling into a sedentary lifestyle.

Is It Safe to Exercise While Pregnant?

“A lot of women who go through fertility treatments label themselves as high-risk, and self-impose bed rest for a portion of their pregnancy,” Dr. Aronica says. “I’m not a huge believer in bed rest to begin with, and there’s a misconception that associates it with high-risk pregnancies.”

Instead, Dr. Aronica urges new and expectant mothers to use this down time to make exercise a part of their routine. She emphasizes its benefits beyond pregnancy, into the so-called “fourth trimester,” or the first few months of a woman’s postpartum period.

As postpartum depression is a quite common condition affecting new mothers, Dr. Aronica has used her expertise to support patients experiencing symptoms after giving birth. “One part of it is depression, and the other part is physical, which includes exercise and diet,” says Dr. Aronica.

Exercise for New or Expectant Mothers While Social Distancing

Quarantine hardly puts a dent in the options for new mothers or pregnant women who are looking to stay active. Here are some of Dr. Aronica’s exercise recommendations:


Walking is one of the best options for women looking to get active. Brisk walks are easy on the muscles and joints, and can even help manage pesky symptoms like aches and digestive troubles in some women.

Prenatal yoga or stretching

There are plenty of videos and online guides created specifically for pregnant women. Much like walking, activities designed to improve our flexibility are low-impact forms of exercise that are good for our joints and circulation.

Virtual classes

Local gyms offering virtual exercise classes are a great option for women who may be missing the socialization they get in a group setting. Search for instructors who may be using webcam functionality during their classes. This is ideal for women concerned about injury, as the instructor can help ensure proper form.

Weight lifting

Got a pair of dumbbells laying around that have been collecting dust? Lifting weights offers a way to strengthen your muscles, especially those in the back. This gives women an option to counter those aches and pains that pregnancy often brings.

Consult Your Doctor or Midwife

If you have any questions or concerns about starting an exercise routine, reach out to your OB/GYN or midwife to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

For Questions About Women’s Health
Call (716) 923-7152

For Questions About Women’s Health
Call (716) 923-7152