Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines

By They American College of Sports Medicine

American College Of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Exercise Prescription

  • The recommended mode, frequency, duration, and overload generally are consistent with the contraindications below for cardiorespiratory, resistance, and flexibility exercise stimuli.
  • In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 to 40 minutes or more of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended.
  • Regular exercise (e.g. at least 3 days a week) is preferable to sporadic or infrequent activity.
  • Monitor exercise intensity by use of ratings of perceived exertion (light to somewhat hard), rather than heart rate.
  • Women who were sedentary or relatively inactive prior to pregnancy should begin with light-intensity (20%-39% HRR), low- (or non-) impact activities, such as walking and swimming.
  • Avoid exercise in the supine position after first trimester because mild obstruction of venous attenuates cardiac output and may facilitate orthostatic hypotension.

 Exercise Testing

  • Unless a clinical condition dictates maximal exercise testing, it is not recommended for pregnant women, and only under the supervision of a physician.
  • Submaximal testing can be performed with an endpoint of <75% heart rate reserve.
  • Women who were less active or sedentary prior to pregnancy should seek the approval of a physician prior to engaging in physical activity.

                      Contraindications For Exercising During Pregnancy


  •  Severe anemia
  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac dysrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Extreme morbid obesity
  • Extreme underweight (BMI <12)
  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Orthopedic limitations
  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Heavy smoker


  • 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
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