Should you exercise during pregnancy?

According to the “2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy”, in general physical activity is associated with greater benefits and “has been proposed as a preventative or therapeutic measure to reduce pregnancy complications and optimise maternal-fetal health”.

Women who were active prior to pregnancy are encouraged to continue exercising with appropriate modifications and going by how they feel at all times. Those women who were inactive before pregnancy are encouraged to start exercising during pregnancy, starting at lower intensity and progressively increasing the intensity and duration of the exercise to their tolerance. 

Always be sure to get the go ahead from a medical professional beforehand as there are several contraindications to exercise while pregnant that must not be ignored. 

Click the link below for the full article with a comprehensive list of all contraindications. 

2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy

Physical activity recommendations for pregnant women:

  • All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy
  • A good goal is to aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise (being able to maintain a conversation during that exercise) spread out over at least 3 days a week.
  • Being active everyday is encouraged
  • Exercises should be varied, including aerobic and resistance work. Yoga/ stretching can also be added.
  • Doing daily “pelvic floor muscle training”, for example Kegel exercises, may help decrease urinary incontinence.
  • If feeling unwell, light-headed, or nauseated while exercising, specifically when laying on the back, the exercise should be modified to resolve the symptoms. For example, doing the exercises side lying rather then laying on back.
  • Maintain proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after any activities.

When to stop exercising and seek help from a medical professional:

  • Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest.
  • Chest pain
  • Regular and painful uterine contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Dizziness or fainting that does not resolve on rest

Are there any exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy?

Put simply Yes.

Avoid exercising in excessive heat and/ or humidity (for example hot yoga), activities involving physical contact or possibility of falling eg. scuba diving and skiing. Physical activity above 2500m or high intensity/ competitive exercises should be discussed with obstetric care beforehand.

For more information or to arrange a pregnancy consultation contact the clinic on 057 8678904.

Yours in health

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