Exercise for pregnant women with a rheumatic disease

Women with rheumatic disease who are planning pregnancy or are pregnant should be physically active and stay in good physical shape. Physical activity during pregnancy benefits your own health and that of your unborn child.

Same exercise recommendations as for healthy pregnant women

Pregnant women with rheumatic disease should follow the same recommendations for exercise as other pregnant women.

If you experience disease activity during pregnancy that makes you unable to be physically active in the same way as you have been previously, a physiotherapist can help.

Some women with rheumatic disease also have additional medical conditions or pregnancy complications that mean that physical activity should be discussed with a doctor.

What effect does exercise have?

Physical activity during pregnancy benefits your own health and that of your unborn child.

Exercise during pregnancy will help reduce the pain you may be experiencing.

Regular physical activity can also make it easier to withstand the strain that pregnancy and childbirth put on the body.

Learning physical relaxation techniques and learning to listen to your own body have been shown to have some positive effect on fatigue. During labour, knowing your own body and having a sense of control over your body is empowering.

Exercise classes for pregnant women

Many locations offer antenatal exercise classes. For many women, it is easier to exercise in the company of other women. Information about the exercise classes available in your local area is available from patient associations, your local medical practice, your local fitness centre or the physiotherapy service in your municipality.  

The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases (NKSR)

Monday-Friday from 08:00 to 15:00

Advises both patients and health professionals.

Norsk revmatikerforbund (Norwegian Rheumatism Association)

22 54 76 00

Tuesday from 10:00 to 15:00

Wednesday from 10:00 to 15:00

Thursday from 10:00 to 15:00

Calls are answered by people with a rheumatic disease, who can give you advice and guidance.

Podcast: Revmamas

A podcast (in Norwegian) for women who have a rheumatic disease and are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant. 

You’ll find it where you usually listen to podcasts, like Spotify for example.

Trygg mammamedisin

Get advice from professionals about safe medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The service is free of charge.

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Flint J, Panchal S, Hurrell A, van de Venne M, Gayed M, Schreiber K, et al. BSR and BHPR guideline on prescribing drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding-Part I: standard and biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and corticosteroids. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016;55(9):1693-7.  

Gotestam Skorpen C, Hoeltzenbein M, Tincani A, Fischer-Betz R, Elefant E, Chambers C, et al. The EULAR points to consider for use of antirheumatic drugs before pregnancy, and during pregnancy and lactation. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75(5):795-810.  

Gotestam Skorpen C, Lydersen S, Gilboe IM, Skomsvoll JF, Salvesen KA, Palm O, et al. Disease Activity During Pregnancy and the First Year Postpartum in Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2017;69(8):1201-8.  

Ursin K, Lydersen S, Skomsvoll JF, Wallenius M. Disease activity of psoriatic arthritis during and after pregnancy: A prospective multicenter study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018.  

Ursin K, Lydersen S, Skomsvoll JF, Wallenius M. Disease activity during and after pregnancy in women with axial spondyloarthritis: a prospective multicentre study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018;57(6):1064-71.  

Ursin K, Lydersen S, Skomsvoll JF, Wallenius M. Disease Activity of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis during and after Pregnancy: A Prospective Multicenter Study. J Rheumatol. 2018;45(2):257-65.  

Zbinden A, van den Brandt S, Ostensen M, Villiger PM, Forger F. Risk for adverse pregnancy outcome in axial spondyloarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: disease activity matters. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018.  

Content provided by The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases (NKSR)

The Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases (NKSR). Exercise for pregnant women with a rheumatic disease. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Tuesday, October 10, 2023 [retrieved Friday, March 1, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/pregnancy-and-maternity-care-in-norway/pregnancy-childbirth-family-life-rheumatic-disease/exercise-for-pregnant-women-with-a-rheumatic-disease/

Last updated Tuesday, October 10, 2023