According to the August 2009 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, women who are pregnant should start a daily exercise program even if they have not exercised prior to pregnancy.

The level of exercise suggested is low to moderate. The programs can include low impact aerobics, resistance training and walking. Swimming is also considered a healthy exercise for pregnant women. Researchers involved in the study found that women who exercised while pregnant suffered from less back pain, lower blood pressure and reduced swelling.

In the 1990s, doctors reported that exercise during pregnancy could be harmful to the pregnant woman and her fetus. Today, doctors are flipping the coin and suggesting exercise more than ever before.

At the heart of the need for exercise is the temporary nature of the pregnancy. The body needs exercise when pregnant and when not pregnant. Carrying a fetus does not change the fact that the muscoskeletal system and immune system benefit from daily movement of the body.

Doctors involved in the study have broken down the need for exercise into six categories. These categories are prenatal, postnatal, older, obese, infertile and athlete.

Prenatal - Low to moderate exercise should be continued or started.

Postnatal - Continue prenatal program.

Older - Exercise is more important the older the patient is. Pregnancy exercise can lead to lower blood pressure levels.

Obese - Exercise can improve health during pregnancy and should be maintained after the baby is delivered.

Infertile - Infertility treatments are not often affected by exercise. Better health could mean better fertility.

Athlete - More active exercise programs should be monitored by the obstetrician.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons / August 2009 via