Here is a summary of the current ACOG guidelines on physical activity during the perinatal period.
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.⠀⠀
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. ⠀
Certain types of heart and lung diseases
Being pregnant with twins or triplets (or more) with risk factors for preterm labor
Placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnancy
Preterm labor during this pregnancy or ruptured membranes (your water has broken)
Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
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.
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
Resistance exercises (ie: using weights, resistance bands)
Stretching (ie: yoga, pilates)
Modified from Berghella V, Saccone G. Exercise in pregnancy! Am J Obstet Gynecol 2017;216:335–7.
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
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? ⠀⠀
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 .