J Korean Med Assoc.  2016 Jul;59(7):514-520. 10.5124/jkma.2016.59.7.514.

Guideline for exercise in pregnancy

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Catholic University of Daegu College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea. magu815@cu.ac.kr


Most pregnant women are interested in the health of themselves and their babies. Women in reproductive age may also be concerned with their body shape. Therefore, pregnancy is an ideal period during which to change exercise and lifestyle habits. Nowadays obesity is increasing in women. Obesity influences the health of pregnant women and their babies, and acts as a factor associated with pregnancy complications such as hypertension and diabetes in pregnancy. For such reasons, it has been recommended that women exercise properly and regularly during pregnancy. Because physical and anatomic changes occur during pregnancy, and increases in the weight of the uterus and body can have an impact on the spine and bones of pregnant women, injury is a concern. Therefore, impractical exercise without consideration of the pregnancy state may do more harm than good. Some exercises are contraindicated for pregnant women with complicating cardiac and pulmonary diseases. Therefore, pregnant women and their care providers should understand the risks and the benefits of exercise in pregnancy, and a guideline for proper exercise in pregnancy is presented here.


Guideline; Exercise; Pregnancy

MeSH Terms

Life Style
Lung Diseases
Pregnancy Complications
Pregnant Women


1. Muktabhant B, Lumbiganon P, Ngamjarus C, Dowswell T. Interventions for preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; (4):CD007145.
2. Elliott-Sale KJ, Barnett CT, Sale C. Exercise interventions for weight management during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum among normal weight, overweight and obese women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2015; 49:1336–1342.
3. Tseng PC, Puthussery S, Pappas Y, Gau ML. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of exercise programs on Lumbo Pelvic Pain among postnatal women. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015; 15:316.
4. Salvesen KÅ, Stafne SN, Eggebo TM, Morkved S. Does regular exercise in pregnancy influence duration of labor? A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2014; 93:73–79.
5. Nascimento SL, Surita FG, Cecatti JG. Physical exercise during pregnancy: a systematic review. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2012; 24:387–394.
6. Artal R, Rutherford S, Romem Y, Kammula RK, Dorey FJ, Wiswell RA. Fetal heart rate responses to maternal exercise. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986; 155:729–733.
7. Artal R, Wiswell R, Romem Y, Dorey F. Pulmonary responses to exercise in pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986; 154:378–383.
8. Clapp JF 3rd. Fetal heart rate response to running in midpregnancy and late pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1985; 153:251–252.
9. Collings CA, Curet LB, Mullin JP. Maternal and fetal responses to a maternal aerobic exercise program. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1983; 145:702–707.
10. Szymanski LM, Satin AJ. Strenuous exercise during pregnancy: is there a limit? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012; 207:179.e1–179.e6.
11. Wiebe HW, Boule NG, Chari R, Davenport MH. The effect of supervised prenatal exercise on fetal growth: a meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2015; 125:1185–1194.
12. ACOG Committee Opinion no. 650: physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Obstet Gynecol. 2015; 126:e135–e142.
13. Barakat R, Lucia A, Ruiz JR. Resistance exercise training during pregnancy and newborn's birth size: a randomised controlled trial. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009; 33:1048–1057.
14. Petrov Fieril K, Glantz A, Fagevik Olsen M. The efficacy of moderate-to-vigorous resistance exercise during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015; 94:35–42.
15. Katz VL, McMurray R, Berry MJ, Cefalo RC. Fetal and uterine responses to immersion and exercise. Obstet Gynecol. 1988; 72:225–230.
16. Camporesi EM. Diving and pregnancy. Semin Perinatol. 1996; 20:292–302.
17. Artal R, Fortunato V, Welton A, Constantino N, Khodiguian N, Villalobos L, Wiswell R. A comparison of cardiopulmonary adaptations to exercise in pregnancy at sea level and altitude. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995; 172(4 Pt 1):1170–1178.
18. Edwards MJ. Review: hyperthermia and fever during pregnancy. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2006; 76:507–516.
19. Madsen M, Jorgensen T, Jensen ML, Juhl M, Olsen J, Andersen PK, Nybo Andersen AM. Leisure time physical exercise during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. BJOG. 2007; 114:1419–1426.
20. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes: 2011. Diabetes Care. 2011; 34:Suppl 1. S11–S61.
21. Rudra CB, Williams MA, Lee IM, Miller RS, Sorensen TK. Perceived exertion during prepregnancy physical activity and preeclampsia risk. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005; 37:1836–1841.
22. Sosa CG, Althabe F, Belizan JM, Bergel E. Bed rest in singleton pregnancies for preventing preterm birth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015; (3):CD003581.
23. Grobman WA, Gilbert SA, Iams JD, Spong CY, Saade G, Mercer BM, Tita AT, Rouse DJ, Sorokin Y, Leveno KJ, Tolosa JE, Thorp JM, Caritis SN, Van Dorsten JP. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network. Activity restriction among women with a short cervix. Obstet Gynecol. 2013; 121:1181–1186.
24. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee on Practice Bulletins-Obstetrics. ACOG practice bulletin no. 127: management of preterm labor. Obstet Gynecol. 2012; 119:1308–1317.
25. McCall CA, Grimes DA, Lyerly AD. "Therapeutic" bed rest in pregnancy: unethical and unsupported by data. Obstet Gynecol. 2013; 121:1305–1308.
26. Renault KM, Norgaard K, Nilas L, Carlsen EM, Cortes D, Pryds O, Secher NJ. The Treatment of Obese Pregnant Women (TOP) study: a randomized controlled trial of the effect of physical activity intervention assessed by pedometer with or without dietary intervention in obese pregnant women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014; 210:134.e1–134.e9.
27. Koltyn KF, Schultes SS. Psychological effects of an aerobic exercise session and a rest session following pregnancy. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1997; 37:287–291.
Full Text Links
  • JKMA
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr