If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may be wondering whether it’s okay to keep exercising, or to start a new workout routine. In a word, yes! In fact, researchers have found that both women and men who exercise moderately have higher fertility rates than those who don’t. Vigorous exercise can decrease a woman’s fertility, however, so be careful to make sure you’re not going too hard during this phase of your life.

Let’s talk about why exercising before and during pregnancy is an awesome thing. Prenatal exercise:

  • Helps you maintain healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy
  • Can reduce stress
  • Gives you more energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Helps you sleep better (which becomes harder as your pregnancy progresses)
  • Can alleviate some unpleasant pregnancy symptoms, like backaches and constipation
  • Prepares your body for birth
  • Can improve your long-term health, as well as your baby’s

Prenatal yoga, swimming, walking and cycling on stationary bikes are all great ways to stay active while trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy.

As you plan your prenatal exercise routine, stick to these general guidelines:

  • If you exercised before your pregnancy, it’s probably fine to keep doing it. If you’re new to exercise (good on you for wanting to start now!), ease into it. This is not the time to start training for your first 5k.
  • Listen to your body. If you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy, crampy, overly tired or have any vaginal bleeding, stop right away and call your doctor or midwife.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. And eat lots of nutritious foods.

Things to avoid:

  • Contact sports like basketball
  • Activities where falling is likely, such as skiing
  • Exercising in excessive heat (no hot yoga, please)
  • Activities that include a lot of bouncing, twisting and jumping
  • Lying flat on your back
  • Holding your breath for a long time
  • Exercising with the goal of losing weight

Make sure you discuss any exercise plans with your medical provider before you get started. As your pregnancy progresses, certain conditions may come up that would require you to stop exercising for the time being, so be sure to keep asking questions if you’re unsure.

And you can always check out Motherly’s guide to getting fit (fast!) at home.