Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

Developed by the Committee on Obstetric Practice with the assistance of committee members Meredith L. Birsner, MD; and Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, MSC.



In the modern era women are taking better control of their health and wellness through exercise in pregnancy and postpartum. Exercise, defined as physical activity consisting of planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movements done to improve one or more components of physical fitness, is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle, and obstetrician–gynecologists encourage their patients to continue or to commence exercise as an important component of optimal health. Women who habitually engaged in aerobic activity or who were physically active before pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Observational studies of women who exercise during pregnancy have shown benefits such as decreased gestational diabetes mellitus, cesarean birth and operative vaginal delivery, and postpartum recovery time. Physical activity also can be an essential factor in the prevention of depressive disorders of women in the postpartum period. In the absence of obstetric or medical complications, physical activity in pregnancy is safe and desirable, and pregnant women should be encouraged to continue or to initiate safe physical activities.


Recommendations: Regular physical activity in all phases of life, including pregnancy, promotes health benefits. Pregnancy is an ideal time for maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the following recommendations:


  • Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risks and have been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.


  • A thorough clinical evaluation should be conducted before recommending an exercise program to ensure that a patient does not have a medical reason to avoid exercise.


  • Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.


Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers will evaluate pregnant patients with medical or obstetric complications carefully before making recommendations on physical activity participation during pregnancy. As part of your obstetrical visits, our providers address all physical concerns and will make the best recommendations to keep mom and baby healthy!

For the full article from ACOG please click on the link below!



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