Just the facts

Here's essential exercise information for pregnant women.


The following is a summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' guidelines for exercising while pregnant (from Obstetrics & Gynecology 2002; 99: 171-173).

1. In the absence of contraindications, pregnant women are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. As always, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

2. During the second and third trimesters, pregnant women should avoid back-lying exercises or standing motionless for too long.

3. Participation in a wide range of recreational activities appears to be safe. However, activities with a high risk of falling or abdominal trauma should be avoided; these include basketball, soccer, horseback riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, in-line skating, gymnastics and vigorous racquet sports.

4. Scuba diving is not safe at any time during pregnancy.

5. Exertion at altitudes of up to 6,000 feet during pregnancy appears to be safe. However, engaging in physical activities at higher altitudes carries various risks and should be avoided.
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