Exercise and Pregnancy

CAPT Marlene DeMaio, MD, MC, USN and CAPT Everett F. Magann, MD, MC, USN

J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 8, August 2009 Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle and, as such, is recommended during pregnancy. However, the response to exercise of both the expectant mother and fetus varies depending on the fitness level of the woman. The response to exercise is also affected by the known musculoskeletal and physiologic changes associated with pregnancy, such as increased ligament laxity, weight gain, change in the center of gravity, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Although the physiologic responses of the pregnant woman and fetus have been well studied, the literature contains comparatively few studies investigating response to exercise. When performed properly, activities such as aerobics, impact and nonimpact activities, resistance training, and swimming may be beneficial during pregnancy.

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