Pregnancy: Linking Good, Benefits & Exercise

“It can be easy to fear exercise when pregnant. Harry Barnes, Ante and Post Natal Personal Trainer, argues there are few more important times to keep fit.” (Barnes, 2017, p.18).

Pregnancy dramatically alters the body: hormones, extra nutrients and stretching to allow the ‘wee one’ to grow.

Barnes (2017) informs us that almost half of all expectant mothers gain too much weight throughout their pregnancy, potentially leading to a variety of health issues/concerns such as

  • Gestational diabetes;
  • Urinary tract infections;
  • miscarriage; and
  • Labour complications.

The Institute of Medicine (2009a; 2009b) suggests that healthy weight gain during pregnancy would look something like 25-35 lbs total weight (for women with a normal BMI), consisting of:

  • Breasts: 1-2 lbs;
  • Baby: 6-8 lbs;
  • Placenta: 1-2 lbs;
  • Uterus: 1-2 lbs;
  • Amniotic fluid: 2-3 lbs;
  • Blood: 3-4 lbs;
  • Protein and Fat stores: 8-10 lbs; and
  • Bodily fluids: 3-4 lbs.

There are also guidelines for underweight, overweight and obese categories.

During pregnancy (2009b):

  • 20% of women gain more than 40 pounds; and
  • 10% gain less than 15 pounds.

Six months after giving birth about (2009b):

  • 50% of women retain more than 10 pounds; and
  • 25% of women retain more than 20 pounds.

Barnes (2017, p.19) suggests that some form of daily exercise is useful:

  • 3-5 scheduled workouts per week;
  • Lasting 30-60 minutes each, for example 30 minutes of steady walking;
  • With a combination of moderate intensity resistance training and cardiovascular training;
  • Low impact and minimal range of hip motion; and
  • Beware that excessive isolated or shoulder pressing can raise blood pressure.


For those fitness professionals based in the UK, there are a number of courses you can undertake, with two examples below:


Barnes, H. (2017) Pump with a Bump. Fitness Matters: The Official Magazine of REPS UK. Leeds: Coachwise Limited.

Institute of Medicine (2009a) Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. Report Brief, May 2009. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 April, 2017].

Institute of Medicine & National Research Council (2009b) Implementing Guidelines on Weight Gain & Pregnancy. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 April, 2017].


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