Is it safe exercising during pregnancy?

Studies have suggested that women who exercise during pregnancy may have:

The Pregnant Athlete: How to Stay in Your Best Shape Ever--Before, During, and After Pregnancy

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  • Women who want to maintain a high exercise level during pregnancy may be frustrated at the outdated ("keep your heart rate below 140") and vague ("stop exercising if you feel tired") information they find. "Physicians aren't trained to counsel pregnant women about exercise," says James Pivarnik, PhD, vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine. "It's a rare bird who keeps up with the exercise and pregnancy literature." Doctors may have you believe that we know little about how exercise affects pregnant women. But in reality, we know quite a bit -- and it's good news for runners, cyclists, and gym rats who are moms-to-be. "If a woman is having a normal pregnancy, she can continue to exercise, and the upper limit of the level can be reasonably close to what she was doing before pregnancy," Pivarnik says.

    Both exercise and pregnancy are associated with a high demand for energy. In the first two trimesters, an increased intake of 150 calories per day is recommended; an increase of 300 calories per day is required in the third trimester. Caloric demands with exercise are even higher, although no studies have focused on exact requirements. The competing energy demands of the exercising mother and the growing fetus raise the theoretic concern that excessive exercise might adversely affect fetal development.

  • “Lack of exercise was strongly and consistently associated with poor health status before, during, and after pregnancy,” they conclude. Results also indicate that lack of exercise during pregnancy may have been caused by fatigue as well as the depressive symptoms themselves.

    Whether you attend an exercise class or do exercises at home, exercising during pregnancy will help keep you fit and control your weight--and it will make you feel terrific, too!

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  • In clinical studies, women who exercise during pregnancy do not show significant differences in weight during the first and second trimesters. However, some evidence suggests that continuous exercise in the second and third trimesters is associated with decreased maternal and fetal weight gain. One study noted a modest reduction in birth weight (approximately 300 g [10.6 oz]), due chiefly to decreased subcutaneous fat in the fetus. However, the overall weight gain during pregnancy remains well within normal limits in exercising patients.

Pregnancy: Exercise During Pregnancy - WebMD

The exercises are gentle and rely on a woman’s bodyweight so they can be done just about anywhere. One study showed women who exercised while pregnant had shorter active labor and less frequent acute fetal stress during delivery. For Tara, it’s a great way to prepare until the big day arrives.