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May232011

New Guidelines for Exercising While Pregnant

Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc(SCRANTON, Pa.) -- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has updated its guidelines on exercising while pregnant.

For muscle strengthening, use lighter weights and do more repetitions. Do 8-10 muscular strength exercises, one to two sessions per week.

  • Exercise care if using free weights, as they may involve the risk of hitting the abdomen.
  • Don’t lift weights while flat on your back.
  • Avoid walking lunges.

For aerobic exercise, create a detailed chart outlining the minimum and target number of calories needed to burn per week.  For example, to achieve the target energy expenditure, a pregnant woman is advised to do either light walking for 11.2 hours per week, or swimming or bicycling on a stationary bike for about 4.7 hours per week.

The authors of the guidelines point out that “the potential risks of exercise to the woman and fetus during pregnancy have been evaluated …[and] these risks are minimal compared with the benefits gained from regular physical activity.”

The last time the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published guidelines on exercise during pregnancy was 2002, when it suggested 30 or more minutes of moderate exercise per day, as long as there were no medical or obstetric complications.

These guidelines are published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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