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Nurturing Wellness Through Movement During an Unexpected Pregnancy

Movement is a critical health factor.  Not only does it help maintain physical fitness, but it’s a proven way to support mental and emotional well-being.  Here in the Midwest, there’s no better time than June to get up and move (unless you’re a particular fan of crisp autumn runs).  Outside temperatures are pleasantly warm, at last.  Social opportunities increase and people generally feel more energized as the weather improves.  If you’re looking to nurture your own wellness through movement this summer, that’s commendable! But if you’re pregnant, you may have questions about what kind of movement is safe and how much exercise or activity is right for you.

A pregnancy is bound to have many implications on your health- physically, emotionally, socially, etc.  If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, these different wellness factors may be especially complicated to navigate, and finding your best approach to this pregnancy may be difficult.  Avenue Women’s Center exists to support and empower people who find themselves in this difficult place.  We’re an early pregnancy clinic that offers free and confidential first-step services, so you can get holistic support and feel equipped to make an autonomous decision. 

Learn what we’re “About” at Avenue and reach out to speak with an expert staff member!

Physical Activity During Pregnancy is Safe (Within Certain Boundaries)

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), routine physical activity is safe during pregnancy, “if you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal.”  Even if that’s the case, it’s important to speak with a qualified medical professional about your fitness goals early on in your pregnancy.  Exercise can trigger safety concerns for women who have certain conditions.  Connect with a doctor to identify your unique health factors, and come up with a plan that’s safe and beneficial for you.

Possible Physical Health Benefits

Safe physical movement during pregnancy offers a number of potential health benefits.  Here are a few possible advantages highlighted by ACOG:

  • Lessening of back pain
  • Lessening of constipation
  • Possible reduced risk of conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth
  • Improvement of heart and blood vessel health

A Few Tips from the Experts

As you look into how you can nurture your wellness through movement this summer, consider these tips from ACOG!

  • ACOG recommends getting, “at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.” Safe activities may include walking, swimming, using a stationary bike, or practicing modified yoga.  Summer can be an especially ideal time to engage in some of these exercises outdoors, as long as the weather isn’t too hot.  Avoid activities that come with a higher risk of injury.
  • As you engage in physical activity during pregnancy, be extra-mindful of your joints, balance, and breathing.
  • Drink lots of water and avoid exercises that could cause dehydration or overheating.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back. During pregnancy, this can cause a woman’s blood pressure to decrease temporarily.

Mental/Emotional Impacts

Research has proven that physical activity can reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, as the mind and body are closely connected (Psychology Today).  The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated more clearly than ever before that social isolation and inactivity tend to have negative impacts on mental/emotional health.  For all these reasons and more, it’s especially important to stay physically and socially active during stressful seasons of life.  Keep this in mind as you continue to process the news of your unexpected pregnancy.  Safe movement can support your health and help you cope, whether you’re leaning towards aborting, parenting, or creating an adoption plan.

Motivation to stay physically and socially active may not come naturally as you navigate the days ahead.  However, seeking support from trustworthy people can help significantly.  Our caring staff at Avenue Women’s Center would love to be a part of your support network.  We’re a limited medical clinic that’s passionate about helping women get their needs met, however complex and wide-ranging those needs may be.  We offer free medical-grade pregnancy tests, options consultations, limited medical ultrasounds, and more.  If you need additional medical, mental/emotional, or practical support, we can provide referrals and information on resources in your area. 

Contact us to learn more!  Avenue Women’s Center is located in Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois.  We offer virtual consultations as well!



Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.