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.
Dr. DeMaio is Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, and Director, Research, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA. Dr. Magann is Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, and Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth.
Dr. DeMaio serves as a board member of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons and the publications American Journal of Sports Medicine and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research in an unpaid capacity. Neither Dr. Magann nor a member of his immediate family has received anything of value from or owns stock in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the US Government.
Reprint requests: Dr. DeMaio, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Naval Medical Center, 620 John Paul Jones Circle, Portsmouth, VA 23708.
Copyright 2009 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.