As someone who exercises daily and is currently working on being pregnant, whether or not it’s safe to exercise while pregnant is a concern of mine. But as it turns out, it really shouldn’t be a concern at all — because as long as there are no medical or obstetric complications during pregnancy, it’s completely safe for a pregnant woman to exercise. In fact, it’s recommended.
Starting in the ’80s, doctors recommended light exercise for pregnant women. Meaning, walking was fine — but anything more rigorous than that could cause issues. But a new meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) suggests that moderate exercise is totally safe and beneficial.
ACOG encourages pregnant women to partake in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day most days of the week, according to The New York Times.
Being physically active during pregnancy isn’t just good for staying physically fit, it’s also beneficial in helping with “weight management, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, making it easier to cope with labor pain and easing recovery from childbirth,” according to Dr. Artal, the main author of the updated guidelines.
Women who exercised regularly before pregnancy and have no pregnancy-related complications “should be able to engage in high-intensity exercise programs, such as jogging and aerobics, with no adverse effects.”
It’s not entirely clear how intense the workouts can get, but a woman will likely know when enough’s enough. Some modifications may be needed as anatomic changes happen during pregnancy, and of course, high risk activities like skiing, horseback riding, hot yoga and all contact sports should be avoided.
So to all the pregnant ladies who feel like exercising — go for it! And if you feel like napping instead — go for that too.