To exercise or not to exercise? The ACOG Committee answers the exercise and pregnancy question.
Whether it’s walking, running or weight training, experts recommend that everyone gets moving. But when it comes to exercise and pregnancy, many women have questions and concerns. “Can I exercise during my pregnancy?” or “Are there any restrictions I need to follow?” and “When can I resume exercising postpartum?”
In December 2015, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published their opinion on the topic of exercise, both during pregnancy and postpartum. Their recommendations are meant to help shed light on the topic to ensure a safe, healthy and fit pregnancy and beyond.
Is exercise and pregnancy a good combination?
It depends. In women with uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies, physical activity is highly recommended and poses minimal risks. Engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 20–30 minutes per day does wonders for the body and mind, including:
- Helping to maintain a healthy weight
- Helping to reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes in obese women
- Enhancing psychological well-being
- Helping prevent preeclampsia and cesarean delivery
Certain conditions, however, will prevent women from engaging in aerobic exercise.
- Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Placenta previa which is readily detected by ultrasound after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancy at risk for preterm labor
- Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
- Incompetent cervix or cerclage (procedure in which stitches are used to close the cervix during pregnancy to prevent premature labor)
Your Austin obgyn will guide you on the dos and don’ts of exercise and pregnancy.
What are examples of safe exercises?
- Stationary cycling
- Low-impact aerobics
- Yoga and Pilates, modified (avoid poses that cause hypotension and can compress the vena cava—the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart).
- Running, jogging and strength-training (these activities may be safe for pregnant women who regularly engaged in these activities before getting pregnant).
- Any contact sport (kickboxing, soccer, basketball etc.)
- Bikram or “hot” yoga
- Scuba diving
- Sky diving
After giving birth, women who are lifelong fitness buffs or those eager to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back, will often ask their OBGYN when they can resume their fitness routine. Women who’ve had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and a healthy pregnancy can resume exercising as soon as they feel up to it. Some women get back at it a few days after their bundle of joy is born.
Check out the ACOG website for the most up-to-date information on exercising during pregnancy and after.