Outdated Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines Put Pregnant Moms and Their Babies at Risk

Every session I have with a pregnant woman is amazing. It may be the only time in her life she will experience pregnancy and childbirth. It is the only time in her life she will have 100% control over her child’s health, from exercise, nutrition, thoughts, stress, emotions, environmental toxins… but not every pregnant mom has the support or correct information she needs to maintain the healthiest pregnancy for both her and her baby.

If you have exercised during your pregnancy or know someone who has, you may know the feelings I had during both of my pregnancies. I felt amazing, fit, sexy, and confident in my body. I never had morning sickness, aches and pains, or felt uncomfortable…I never had that physical feeling of wanting the baby out, just the emotional excitement to meet him and then her!

Both of my births were 100% natural and I pushed Kaden out in 12 minutes and Naiya slid out. Yes literally, I had to blow her out so she would not come too fast and cause a tear.

Like I mentioned above, not all pregnant women know the TRUTH about PREGNANCY and EXERCISE. Unless pregnant moms are informed by educated Pre and Postnatal Exercise Specialists, they may continue to live in fear about exercising while pregnant. Just today I received this email…literally, this is a screen shot from my gmail inbox…

Since we have Fit For Birth Certified Pilates Instructors here in Miami, I am trying to connect them, so she can at least pick up her Pilates!


This is obviously a healthy mom who was very active pre-pregnancy. She is being persuaded by her doctor to not be healthy and she may think exercise will hurt her baby since her doctor is strongly advising against the exercise.

In the meantime she feels flabby, bored, and even uses the words it is “painful to see&#8221”. How is a mom going to enjoy her pregnancy, feel sexy, look good and maintain her health?

How is she going to feel going into labor and delivery? Strong and ready to birth her baby, or powerless and afraid her body may fail?

My guess is she will continue to feel bored and flabby and there is nothing she can do about it. She will be counting the days till her baby is born so she can get on with life and get her body back. That is unless she decides to work with me or another Fit For Birth Certified Exercise Specialist.

The pregnant mom and her baby are literally suffering because the doctor has not yet received the Memo that the ACOG changed their guidelines more than a decade ago regarding pregnant moms and raising their heart rates above 140bpm. Actually, there is no current guideline anywhere that states a pregnant mom should keep her heart rate below 140bpm.

Actually, In Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, Dr. James F. Clapp, professor emeritus of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve University and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, dissolves virtually all myths that exercise is anything but beneficial for pregnant mom and fetus.

Dr. Clapp is considered the worlds leading authority on exercise during pregnancy and encourages pregnant women to exercise moderate to intense throughout their entire pregnancy in order to maintain the mental, emotional and physical benefits of exercise for both mom and baby.

But can I blame the doctor solely? No. It is not their job to know the ins and outs of exercise during pregnancy…their job is to perform surgery and work with high-risk moms who may need the attention of a doctor and special tools the hospital offers.

Can I blame society? Yes partly…we have allowed the fear of pregnancy and childbirth govern our decisions or in this case the doctors suggestions.

Can I blame the pregnant mom? Yes partly…is she in tune with her body and her baby? Is she ready to challenge her doctor or at least take his recommendation as a recommendation and get a second opinion? What is the doctor’s reason for this outdated pregnancy exercise “rule”?

But instead of blaming the culprit, let me offer a solution. The Pre and Post Natal Exercise Specialist.

So what can you do as a Pre and Postnatal Exercise Specialist? You will be informed on how to work with a mom who comes to you with these “doctor’s orders” and help them find their gut feeling, hold their hand to feel their intuition.

She may or may not feel comfortable raising her heart rate above 140 but she will have a much happier, healthier, and sexier pregnancy knowing she is in good hands and feeling worked out…even if you don’t challenge her heart rate.

Or on a better note, she will learn, understand, and feel the benefits of really challenging her changing body while helping her prepare for the biggest, longest, and most rewarding day of her lie. Labor and delivery of the greatest gift of love she will ever experience.

So to be clear :

“There is no documentation of detrimental fetal outcomes in women who participate in regular moderate- to high-intensity exercise.”
Varney’s Midwifery

“Some women fear that exercise will increase the risk of miscarriage, malformations, pre-term labor, brain damage to the baby, or material injury, but this is not the case.”
Dr. James F. Clapp III

In research that began in the early 1980’s, Dr. Clapp has proven that the following benefits occur for women who exercise during their pregnancy.

Babies born to mothers who exercise during their pregnancy experience:

  • Increased physical health scores as measured immediately upon birth and up to five years later
  • Increased intelligence scores for life
  • Fewer fetal interventions
  • Fewer pregnancy complications

Moms who exercise during their pregnancy experience:

  • Less weight gain
  • Less labor pain
  • Less pregnancy discomfort

So how will you feel knowing you are helping provide all these benefits to moms and their babies…the future of our world.

How will you feel knowing you are helping a mom create an easier, shorter, and less painful labor?

Moms who exercise were rewarded by “a marked decrease in the need for all types of medical intervention,” says Clapp. His studies show that exercising moms, and their babies, enjoyed these specific benefits:

  • “A 35 percent decrease in need for pain relief”
  • “A 50 percent decrease in need to artificially rupture the membranes.”
  • “A 50 percent decrease in need to induce or stimulate labor.”
  • “A 50 percent decrease in need to intervene because of abnormalities in fetal heart rate”
  • “A 55 percent decrease in need for episiotomy”
  • “A 75 percent decrease in need for operative intervention (forceps or C-section).”

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