For Professionals: Recommendations for exercise during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy does not harm the fetus — and can provide important health benefits — but some obstetricians are hesistant to recommend exercise during pregnancy, according to a study in the March 2012 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers studied the evaluating fetal well-being in response to exercise in women who were getting the amount of exercise currently recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (pregnant women who are not already highly active get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week during pregnancy). The study looked at inactive, active and highly active women between 28 and 32 weeks.

The researchers concluded that exercise according to the current Health and Human Services guidelines was well tolerated by both the mother and the fetus. They noted that most pregnant women are not getting the recommended amount of exercise and often physical activity decreases during this period.