Authors of a study that was published in 2012 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examined the effects of a comprehensive exercise program on previously inactive pregnant woman. Compared with women who remained sedentary, women engaged in the exercise program improved aerobic fitness and muscular strength, delivered comparable size infants with significantly fewer cesarean deliveries, and recovered faster postpartum. The exercising group developed no gestational hypertension and reported no injuries related to the exercise regimen.
"Honestly, I was nervous that the workouts would be too intense for a pregnant lady. Those feelings turned out to be unfounded. With DS’s help, I felt like superwoman during my pregnancy – not only was I growing a human being, but I was (safely!) lifting more weight than I ever thought I could, right up to my due date. I believe the abdomen strength I built up truly contributed to a healthy, yet long and grueling, labor as well as a smooth recovery." - Jessie R.
In their conclusion, the researchers state, “Sedentary women who become pregnant often receive mixed messages from friends, family, and even their doctors about the wisdom of exercising during pregnancy. The data from this study supports the safety of exercise in this population, particularly the absence of gestational hypertension and the low incidence of cesarean section… “The data are strong enough to suggest that every practicing obstetrician would be wise to provide each newly pregnant woman a prescription for exercise in pregnancy.”