Physical Exercise and Activities During Pregnancy


Provided there are no medical or obstetrical complications, pregnant women should be encouraged to continue with an active life during their pregnancy. After assessment of her obstetrical history, medical and obstetrical risk factors and her general condition, a healthy pregnant woman should be encouraged to undertake regular, moderate physical activity. Special recommendations may apply if there are some specific maternal conditions (heart problems, orthopedic history, obstetrical complications, bleeding or risk of preterm delivery). Aerobic exercises that help develop and maintain good physical condition are also indicated during pregnancy. Activities designed to help musculoskeletal development can also be done (weight-lifting, flexibility exercises). Some physical activities however do pose a risk during pregnancy. For example, activities where there is a risk of falling or which place excessive tension on the joints, like ski-ing and jogging, should be avoided. Exercises where mother-to-be has to lie on her back should also be avoided after the 20th week of pregnancy. Scuba diving should also be avoided. Walking at a normal or brisk pace, stationary bicycling and swimming are all perfectly acceptable.

Women already in a regular exercise program before becoming pregnant can continue it during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman is not used to doing exercise, she should begin gradually, increasing her time up to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week to improve and maintain her condition.

Physical exercise can also be part of a treatment plan for some specific conditions during pregnancy, like diabetes. Data in today's medical literature indicate that regular physical exercise during pregnancy will most certainly be beneficial, provided there is no pre-existing maternal problem or any special condition affecting the pregnancy.

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