Exercise in Pregnancy :: Advice from UAB Experts


Exercise in pregnancy can be a daunting topic for many women. How much is too little? How much is too much? Should I even exercise while pregnant?

Sara Gould, MD, MPH, UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chase Cawyer, MD, MBA, UAB Maternal and Fetal Medicine join Birmingham Mom Collective today to encourage our readers to stay fit and healthy while expecting.

UAB Medicine is offering a new (and first of its kind) Exercise in Pregnancy Clinic at UAB Hospital-Highlands, open to all expectant Birmingham-area women (even those not patients at UAB). But more on that in a minute.

Let’s first talk about the benefits of exercise while pregnant.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

There are so many reasons pregnant women should stay (or get) active. It’s not only beneficial to you now, but it benefits your baby and benefits your postpartum self!

Dr. Gould and Dr. Cawyer recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. But fitting in whatever you can is better than nothing.

Exercise while expecting:

    • reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes,
    • lowers the chances of developing preeclampsia,
    • helps reduce a large birth weight of your baby,
    • reduces backaches (and other body aches),
    • aids in digestion while warding off pregnancy-induced constipation,
    • reduces stress and promotes better moods, 
    • promotes better sleep,
    • and promotes stamina, endurance, and strength (things you’ll need for labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery).

Exercise in Pregnancy Clinic

Do you still have questions regarding exercise? The UAB Exercise in Pregnancy Clinic is open on the 3rd Wednesday afternoon of every month from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. You don’t need a doctor’s referral–simply call the clinic coordinator, Jessica Thompson, at 205-930-8339 to schedule your clinic appointment.

Jessica will handle getting your medical history from your doctor and let you know when to come for your first individualized consultation.

Dr. Cawyer does the initial assessment and determines any risk factors.

Chase Cawyer, MD, MBA, UAB Maternal and Fetal Medicine

Dr. Gould then performs exercise fitness testing, tracking the placental blood flow changes during exercise. She then writes an exercise prescription including frequency of specific exercises along with tracking apps.

Sara Gould, MD, MPH, UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) changes exercise in pregnancy guidelines often. Many OB/GYNs simply do not have the time to customize pregnancy exercise plans for each individual patient. That’s why the UAB Exercise in Pregnancy Clinic is so beneficial these days.

Women come once every trimester to receive monitoring, advice, and updates to their exercise prescription. Exercises in the first trimester often look different during the second and third trimester as the weight and center of gravity redistributes to accommodate the growing baby.

Dr. Gould and Dr. Cawyer are here to encourage. The clinic is open to everyBODY: from the sedentary who didn’t exercise pre-pregnancy to the professional athlete. 

UAB Hospital-Highland’s Pregnancy in Exercise Clinic

Pregnancy is a time of incredible (and individualized) body changes.

Everyone’s body needs exercise and movement, so lace up those tennis shoes and get moving! Here’s to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby! 

We have a partnership with UAB Medicine, and we love working with them to bring valuable information to Birmingham families. This is sponsored content.