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Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.
The discussion of adequate activity levels during pregnancy is an important one to have with your OB/GYN. For most women, light exercise is fine, consisting of minor modifications to your regular, pre-pregnancy routine. For other women, however, maternal or fetal issues might significantly restrict activity.
In “FAQ 119 – Exercise During Pregnancy”, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOG) discusses the benefits of exercise for pregnant women and provides activity guidelines. ACOG recommends at least 30 minutes of activity on most days to help prevent backache, aid in the prevention or treatment of pregnancy-related diabetes; increase energy and mood levels; improve posture; promote overall fitness, muscle tone, and strength; and improved sleep habits. Low impact exercises are recommended, and include walking, swimming, aerobics, and running.1 Due to the fact that pregnant women experience an overall relaxation of their ligaments (the body’s support structure), I always guide my patients who use weight machines or free weights to reduce the amount of weight that they use and to always have a workout buddy. My concern is not injury to the growing baby, but to the expectant moms.
Can pregnant women over do it? The answer is, yes! In the past, we, as healthcare providers, have recommended that women maintain their heart rates at a certain level (or less) during exercise, but that recommendation has not been included in recent guidelines. In addition to the general precautions of maintaining one’s hydration and wearing comfortable but supportive clothing, ACOG recommends to stop exercising if you experience any of the following issues1:
Before starting or continuing an exercise plan during pregnancy, I encourage all patients to talk with their healthcare providers to ensure that their activities are safe for them – and their growing babies.
The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.
FAQ0119 Exercise in Pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. August 2011.