We are often asked how much exercise is appropriate and safe during pregnancy—we have clients who wonder if they can take more than one of our classes a week, or if it’s okay for them to swim one day and take a Pilates class the next day.
It’s one of our most common questions, and the answer is surprising: ACOG (the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) recommends pregnant women work out at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all days of the week. Basically, they want you working out at a moderate (note, not gentle) level every single day. Think about all the people you know who love to exercise, and how few of them exercise at a moderate level almost every day. It’s rare in non-pregnant people, and even MORE rare in pregnant populations! It demands a fundamental shift in thinking– pregnancy is not the time to curl up and rest, it’s the time to prepare for the most strenuous jobs on the planet- motherhood!
ACOG also mentions conditions that mean you shouldn’t exercise:
- Hemodynamically significant heart disease
- Restrictive lung disease
- Incompetent cervix/cerclage
- Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
- Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
- Premature labor during the current pregnancy
- Ruptured membranes
- Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension
However, if you are free of the above conditions, ACOG is clear: “Participation in a wide range of recreational activities appears to be safe.” We say use your pregnancy as an excuse to exercise more than you normally would — on most if not all days of the week. Your body and baby will thank you!