Expectant moms are probably well aware of the importance of exercising while pregnant; however there are a lot of scenarios in which exercise should be avoided in the interests of the continuation of the pregnancy as well as mother and baby’s wellbeing.
Conditions where exercising while pregnant is not permitted
It is best to consult a doctor before starting any pregnancy exercise program and to get advice about what to do and what to avoid as well as the type of exercise that is suitable. The doctor will likely tell you not to exercise in the following cases, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
Certain diseases or conditions – Women who have certain types of heart disease or arrhythmia, or any restrictive lung disease are advised against exercising while pregnant. Women who have severe anemia should also avoid aerobic exercise in pregnancy.
Women who have pregnancy induced high blood pressure, what is known as preeclampsia or have chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) are also advised against exercising.
Certain pregnancy conditions – Women who have cervical incompetency or insufficiency (premature dilation or effacing of the cervix) are generally advised to be very careful and to take a lot of rest. Women who have ruptured membranes or preterm labor should not exercise.
Women carrying multiples, twins, triplets and so on, who are at risk of premature delivery, are also advised against vigorous exercising while pregnant.
Any recurrent bleeding, particularly in the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy also prohibit exercising. Women with placental problems such as placenta previa (after 26 weeks) also shouldn’t exercise.
Conditions that require special permission from the doctor for exercising while pregnant
Women who are very underweight should seek their doctor’s advice on whether or not to exercise during pregnancy. Similarly women who are very obese or who have had a very sedentary lifestyle so far should also take advice.
Women who have poorly controlled diabetes or thyroid disorders or seizure disorders should also be evaluated for whether they should exercise and what type of exercise is best.
Women with orthopedic problems should also seek advice. Lung problems such as chronic bronchitis should also be evaluated prior to starting pregnancy exercises.
When to stop exercising while pregnant
Any unexplained vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge could be a warning sign of a problem that could threaten a pregnancy and the woman should stop exercising and consult the doctor.
Any persistent headaches, difficulty breathing or dizziness also shouldn’t be ignored and nor should exercising be continued.
Chest pain is another worrying symptom that should rightly receive attention. If there is any muscle weakness have it checked. If there is any swelling in the calf, this could be the warning sign of a blood clot and should receive prompt medical attention.
Decreased fetal movement may be another sign for a woman to stop exercising while pregnant. However it is important to remember that the baby may be less active during exercise and more so when you are at rest.