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Johns Hopkins Health - Should You Exercise When You’re Expecting?

Fall 2010
Issue No. 10

Should You Exercise When You’re Expecting?

Date: October 20, 2010

pregnant woman on exercise ball

If you’re expecting a child and wondering how safe it is to continue your exercise routine, a study now under way may provide some answers.

Recently, Andrew Satin, M.D., head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, was asked to develop exercise guidelines for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. But because there hasn’t been much research on the subject, he has partnered with a colleague, Linda Szymanski, M.D., and begun a study to monitor 60 pregnant women of varying degrees of physical fitness.

Satin says the two goals are to determine a safe level of maternal exercise for women and their fetuses and to develop better techniques for measuring fetal response to exercise.

Although the Department of Health and Human Services currently recommends 21/2 hours of moderate exercise per week for pregnant women, these recommendations don’t take into account individual differences in fitness. Satin and Szymanski hope to develop formulas for individual exercise prescriptions.

For now, Satin says, see your physician to determine the best plan for you.

“Avoid dehydration,” he adds, “and any activity where you could fall on the uterus or get hit.” He cites downhill skiing and mountain biking as two sports to avoid.