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Exercise Recommendations during Pregnancy & Postpartum Period


Here is a summary of the current ACOG guidelines on physical activity during the perinatal period.

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Pregnant women should be encouraged to continue or initiate physical activity as long as there are no contraindications. Also, women who were already participating in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity before pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and the postpartum period.⠀⠀



Before Commencing

  • It is recommended to complete a thorough clinical evaluation before commencing exercise (rule out any contraindications) and work with a healthcare professional on an individualized exercise program. ⠀

  • Contraindications include:

  • OBGYN and other obstetric care providers should evaluate women with medical or obstetric complications carefully before making exercise recommendations.

  • Activity restriction should not be prescribed routinely as a treatment to reduce preterm birth.

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Benefits of Exercise

Some of the many benefits of physical activity during pregnancy include: ⠀⠀

  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes ⠀⠀

  • Reduce the risk of preeclampsia⠀

  • Lower incidence of preterm or caesarean birth⠀

  • Prevent excessive gestational weight gain ⠀⠀

  • Improve postpartum recovery time ⠀⠀⠀⠀

And during the postpartum period: ⠀⠀

  • Improve mood (prevention depression) ⠀

  • Support lifelong healthy habits⠀

Examples of Safe and Beneficial Forms of Exercise

pregnant mom stretching with physiotherapist coaching
  • Walking

  • Stationary cycling

  • Aerobic exercises

  • Dancing

  • Resistance exercises (ie: using weights, resistance bands)

  • Stretching (ie: yoga, pilates)

  • Aquatic therapy


Modified from Berghella V, Saccone G. Exercise in pregnancy! Am J Obstet Gynecol 2017;216:335–7.


Exercise Guidelines

  • 150 minutes (ie: 30 min x 5 days/week) of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity

    • Women who already do vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, such as running, can continue to do so during pregnancy. It is recommended you check with your healthcare provider to confirm this.

  • Resistance training program to help maintain or build strength, 2-3 times per week

Other Considerations

One other key point that is recommended for exercise in the postpartum period is pelvic floor exercises & core strengthening! This is where a pelvic health physiotherapist comes in 🙋‍♀️. We are well versed to develop a safe and effective exercise program that includes your pelvic floor.


Wondering how to get started? ⠀⠀

💁‍♀️ We’re offering virtual and/or in-person sessions through @raisethebarphysio located within @mibodyto.



References

  • Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. ACOG. (2020, April). Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period

  • Berghella V , Saccone G . Exercise in pregnancy! Am J Obstet Gynecol 2017 ; 216 ( 4 ): 335 – 7 .

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