When NOT to exercise during pregnancy

exercise during pregnancy

Conditions that will prevent you from exercising

Sometimes exercise during pregnancy is strictly forbidden to protect the health of the mother, the baby, or both. Check with your healthcare provider before starting, continuing, or changing an exercise regimen.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has ruled out aerobic exercise if you have any of these conditions while pregnant:

  • heart disease
  • lung disease
  • cervical insufficiency/cerclage
  • multiple gestation (for example, twins, triplets) if you’re at risk for preterm labor
  • persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
  • placenta previa after 26 weeks
  • preterm labor
  • ruptured membranes (your water has broken)
  • preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure)
  • chronic hypertension
  • severe anemia

Ask your healthcare provider to tell you exactly which activities are forbidden and whether you need to cut back on the intensity or duration of any other activities. You may still be able to do limited exercise, such as routines to strengthen your arms and back.

Warning signs that you should stop exercising

If you have any of the following symptoms while exercising, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • muscle weakness
  • calf pain or swelling (which could indicate a blood clot)
  • back or pelvic pain
  • contractions/preterm labor
  • decreased fetal movement (learn how to monitor your baby’s movements, but bear in mind that the baby’s often most quiet when you’re most active)
  • fluid leaking from your vagina
  • rapid heartbeat or palpitations, even while at rest
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