As an Physiotherapist, I am often asked, “Is it safe for me to exercise?”, or “What’s the best way to exercise when you’re pregnant?”
It appears to be a common area of confusion or worry for those about to embark on their journey through pregnancy. I thought it would be a great time to delve into the topic in the hopes that this information will help and encourage people to continue to be active throughout their pregnancy and beyond.
The benefits of physical activity are far-reaching. You do not need to look any further than the recommendations set by the World Health Organisation to see that physical activity leads to benefits in the following:
And this is not an exhaustive list by any means, and these are certainly some handy benefits right there! If you would like to read more on the many benefits of physical activity check out or blog here and also this one here.
A recent systematic review by Ribeiro, Et. Al. found that on top of the above-listed benefits, we also see pregnancy specific benefits as a result of physical activity (Ribeiro, Andrade and Nunes, 2021).
This included benefits for the following:
The authors found that compliance to current guidelines is sufficient to achieve these main benefits of exercise. It is recommended that exercise type and intensity should be based on the individual’s previous fitness level or started at low intensity with gradual progression for those that have no recent history of regular exercise.
One of the biggest barriers to beginning or continuing exercise during pregnancy is the concern for potential risks involved to both the mother and the developing baby.
Ribeiro et, al., found that the risk involved with exercising while pregnant is quite low. There appears to be no strong evidence at this stage that exercise increased the risk of pre-term birth. There was also no evidence to suggest that maternal core temperature does not increase to dangerous levels with exercise.
The guidelines detailed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) state, “If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery.” (Exercise DuringPregnancy, 2022)
The ACOG do state that care should be taken in exercise selection due to some of the changes that occur during pregnancy. These include:
Some other important precautions include:
Overall, exercising while pregnant is very safe and should be encouraged to reap the benefits that exercise offers.
If you are still unsure and would like some professional assistance or would just like to get started, we are here to help. Book with us or call 1300 920 520 for more information. We would love to help through this wonderful period.
WE WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE BOON WURRUNG AND WURUNDJERI PEOPLES OF THE KULIN NATIONS WHO ARE THE CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND ON WHICH WE GATHER. WE PAY OUT RESPECTS TO THEIR ELDERS, PAST, PRESENT AND EMERGING.