Therapeutic Exercise Regarding Musculoskeletal Health of the Pregnant Exerciser and Athlete

  • Augusto Gil PascoalEmail author
  • Britt Stuge
  • Patrícia Mota
  • Gunvor Hilde
  • Kari Bø


Physical activity during pregnancy is recommended and has been shown to benefit most women. However, some modification to exercise routines may be necessary due to normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements. Therefore, knowledge about the systemic changes of pregnancy should be taken into account when counseling women who wish to exercise through their pregnancy and should be complemented by the knowledge about the potential effect of exercise (therapeutic exercise) for prevention and resolution of some common pregnancy-related musculoskeletal conditions. Therapeutic exercise is the systematic and planned performance of exercises which aims to improve and restore physical function.

This chapter presents the scientific evidence foundation on the effect of therapeutic exercises for the prevention and resolution of three common pregnancy-related musculoskeletal conditions: pelvic floor dysfunction, diastasis recti abdominis, and low back and pelvic girdle pain. The chapter emphasizes the potential effect of exercise on prevention and resolution of these musculoskeletal conditions and provides useful information when tailoring therapeutic exercise programs for pregnant women.


Pregnancy Diastasis recti abdominis Low back pain Pelvic girdle pain Pelvic floor muscles Urinary incontinence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augusto Gil Pascoal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Britt Stuge
    • 2
  • Patrícia Mota
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gunvor Hilde
    • 4
  • Kari Bø
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomechanics and Functional Morphology, Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance, Faculty of Human KineticsUniversity of LisbonCruz Quebrada-DafundoPortugal
  2. 2.Division of Orthopaedic SurgeryOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.ESTeSL, Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa, Instituto Politécnico de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  4. 4.Department of PhysiotherapyOsloMet-Oslo Metropolitan University (Former: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)OsloNorway
  5. 5.Department of Sports MedicineNorwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway
  6. 6.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyAkershus University HospitalLørenskogNorway

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