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Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014 Mar;8(2):102-121.

Guidelines for Physical Activity during Pregnancy: Comparisons From Around the World.

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Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 137 East Franklin Street Suite 306, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514, United States.
Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences_INEF. Technical University of Madrid. Martin Fierro 7. 28040, Madrid, Spain.
School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Blair Drive, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia.
Inserm, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), U1018, Epidemiology of Diabetes, Obesity and Chronic Kidney Disease Over the Lifecourse, F-94807, Villejuif, France, Univ Paris-Sud, UMRS 1018, F-94807, Villejuif, France.
Department of Midwifery and Women's Health, Division of Health Sciences & Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan, Phone &
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Olof Palmes Allé 43-45, Aarhus, 8200 N, Denmark.
R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation-Exercise & Pregnancy Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine, Children's Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada N6A 3K7, , extension 85480.
Department of Social Statistics, Statistics Norway, Oslo, Norway.
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
School of Nursing, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States.



Women attain numerous benefits from physical activity during pregnancy. However, due to physical changes that occur during pregnancy, special precautions are also needed. This review summarizes current guidelines for physical activity among pregnant women worldwide.


We searched PubMed (MedLINE) for country-specific governmental and clinical guidelines on physical activity during pregnancy through the year 2012. We cross-referenced with articles referring to guidelines, with only the most recent included. An abstraction form was used to extract key details and summarize.


In total, 11 guidelines were identified from nine countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, United States). Most guidelines supported moderate intensity physical activity during pregnancy (10/11) and indicated specific frequency (9/11) and duration/time (9/11) recommendations. Most guidelines provided advice on initiating an exercise program during pregnancy (10/11). Six guidelines included absolute and relative contraindications to exercise. All guidelines generally ruled-out sports with risks of falls, trauma, or collisions. Six guidelines included indications for stopping exercise during pregnancy.


This review contrasted pregnancy-related physical activity guidelines from around the world, and can help to inform new guidelines as they are created or updated, and facilitate the development of a worldwide guideline.


exercise; global; guidelines; leisure activities; pregnancy; prenatal

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