By Dr. Julie

I was recently doing a TV interview where they were asking me about healthy lifestyle practices for pregnant women. As I answered this question, I realized that this topic is indeed something that is not frequently discussed enough amongst women.

Let’s face it…most of us either, have been pregnant, will be pregnant, or know of someone who is, has been, or will be pregnant. So, since the topic of healthy pregnancy lifestyle would likely come up at some point in our life, how many of us truly know the answer to what is an appropriate amount of sleep and activity for pregnant women?

I polled my patients and friends and most of them were not aware of how much daily activity and how much sleep a pregnant women should have. Because it appears that this is a topic that most of us women should know, yet, it seems most of us are not truly sure of the answer…let’s now take a moment to address this question, shall we?

Most pregnant women who have been exercising moderately prior to pregnancy can continue to exercise at a moderate level about 150 minutes per week with light weight-bearing exercises for upper body toning.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. Do not exercise to a level where you are out of breath and light-headed. By the second and third trimester, you should not do any exercises where you are lying on your back since this may decrease blood flow to the baby.

Regular exercise during pregnancy has been shown to help decrease the risk of preterm delivery, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, post-partum depression, and varicose veins, just to name a few benefits. Women who exercise regularly also are more prepared for labor and delivery and have a faster recovery rate compared to women who did not exercise during pregnancy.

However, I always recommend that you check with your obstetrician before starting any exercise regimen. Those women with a history of preterm delivery, vaginal bleeding, or premature rupture of membranes would need to discuss with their obstetrician prior to establishing an exercise regimen and may be deemed unsafe to exercise during pregnancy.

So…now that you can pass along this information to your friends and family…don’t forget to also tout the benefits of sleeping 7-9 hours per night for all your mommy friends and all your friends who are mommies-to-be!


Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D. an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and is also fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine and the newest member of the WE magazine editorial Team. Dr. Chen will be the editor of our new “ASK DR. JULIE Column. If you have any questions for Dr. Julie, feel free to leave a comment below. She will reply to you directly. You can find out more about Dr. Julie at