If you train pregnant women, it's a good idea to stay current on ACOG's recommendations for exercising while pregnant. In 2009 ACOG reaffirmed its 2002 Committee Opinion on exercise during pregnancy. These guidelines remain current as of this writing. The position paper can be found on the ACOG website (www.acog.org) and should be read in full by any fitness professional who works with expectant clients. Here is a paraphrased summary of its key points.
- Pregnant women without contraindications should be encouraged to engage in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity. Thirty minutes or more, on most days, is recommended.
- All expectant women (and especially deconditioned women or those with medical complications) should undergo a thorough medical evaluation before beginning an exercise program.
- Women who engage in strenuous exercise during pregnancy require close medical supervision.
- The safety of any sport during pregnancy is determined largely by its specific movements. For example, trauma may result to both a woman and her fetus during recreational sports with a high potential for contact or abdominal injury (e.g., ice hockey, soccer) or an increased risk of falling (e.g., horseback riding, downhill skiing.) Scuba diving should be avoided due to the risk of decompression sickness.
- After the first trimester, pregnant women should avoid the supine position and motionless standing as much as possible.
- Postpartum resumption of activities should be gradual, owing to detraining.
To read the full article that ran in the May 2014 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal click here.