Prenatal Exercise: ACOG Guidelines

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Can I lie on my back during pregnancy?

Prenatal Exercise: ACOG Guidelines

In 2002, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, also known as ACOG revised their stance on exercise during pregnancy. While past guidelines for prenatal exercise have always been conservative, the newer guidelines present far fewer restrictions. Perhaps the most radical changes in position involve their recommendations regarding heart rate during prenatal aerobic exercise. It was once believed that heart rate should not exceed 140. However, given that a pregnant women's maximal heart rate is often higher than the usual 220-minus age, many women were hitting that 140 beats per minute mark without any significant exertion. The modified guidelines suggest that pregnant women follow the perceived exertion scale. Here are some of the other ACOG guidelines for prenatal exercise.

  • Women are advised to avoid exercise in the supine position (lying on the back) after the first trimester. Since the weight of the growing fetus puts pressure on the vena cava, the supine position is associated with decreased cardiac output in most pregnant women.
  • Pregnant women who exercise in the first trimester should protect themselves from excessive heat by drinking plenty of fluids and wearing loose comfortable clothing. Steer clear of yoga classes where the heat is turned up to 100degrees..
  • Contraindications to Exercise: Some conditions should be considered contraindications to exercise during pregnancy. These include pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and second or third trimester bleeding. Additionally, if you have medical or obstetric conditions such as chronic hypertension or active thyroid, cardiac, vascular, or pulmonary disease, ACOG advises you to consult your doctor about participating in a prenatal exercise program.



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