Read an Excerpt
Understanding Pregnancy Fitness
The act of keeping healthy during pregnancy has always been a goal. Though fitness during pregnancy is a fairly new concept. Today's active woman is more likely to include fitness as a part of her healthy prenatal routine than ever before. With the guidelines that have cone out as a way to help women maintain their fitness and health during pregnancy to achieve a happy and healthy balance, more women are taking advantage of pregnancy fitness.
History of Pregnancy Fitness
It was not long ago that if you were expecting a baby you were placed on near house arrest. In the delicate condition of being with child, you would not wish to be seen in public, let alone actually doing anything. If you did venture out in public, you did so in garments that were constructed with very tight corsets to hide your expanding abdomen. There was no outlet for physical exertion or exercise.
This was a drastic switch from the pre-industrial revolution days where women continued their daily lives and activities until their babies were born. Then after some recuperation time, they went back to their normal duties fairly quickly. Exercise was out of the question. The exercise pendulum has swung the other way as research study after study has shown that fitness is an important part of pregnancy and the care a woman receives.
As women came out into society with their pregnant abdomens boldly going where none had gone before, women began to wonder if maintaining fitness during pregnancy was really a lost cause. The research began to be done and women slowly changed their thinking about fitness in pregnancy. More women maintained their previous fitness levels in pregnancy and more research was done. The majority of the research showed that fitness in pregnancy was extremely beneficial in nearly every capacity. In 1985 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released their first set of guidelines for pregnancy fitness.
These original fitness guidelines were still quite restrictive, though definitely a step in the right direction. Up until this point, not many studies had been done and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were erring on the side of caution. As time went by and more studies were completed, the rules for exercise in pregnancy became more lax. Women were able to get out and stay active throughout their pregnancies and the practitioners were seeing that there was no harm being done to the women, their pregnancies, nor their babies.
During the height of the fitness boom of the 1980s pregnant women wanted to take part too. With ACOG's guidelines out they now had something to back them up and women continued to exercise during pregnancy. The guidelines have since been updated numerous times, each time becoming more lenient. The most recent ACOG guidelines were published in January 2002.
When talking to your doctor or midwife about exercise during your pregnancy be sure to ask if they are familiar with the newest guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). This can be a useful learning tool for the both of you.