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Updated 28 May 2014

Bleeding during pregnancy and exercise

Bleeding in pregnancy is not only a contra-indication to exercise in pregnancy, but is also a warning sign that you need to stop exercising if you are already training.

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One of the contra-indications to exercise during pregnancy  is that of persistent vaginal bleeding, especially during your second or third trimester. Bleeding in pregnancy is not only a contra-indication to exercise in pregnancy, but is also a warning sign that you need to stop exercising if you are already training. 

Bleeding in the first trimester is relatively common. Some women have a slightly lighter ‘period’ before they find out they are pregnant (this is also known as an implantation bleed), while others experience spotting until they are 12 weeks pregnant.

At this stage the bleeding may be coming from inside the uterus and can result in a miscarriage. Or it could even be due to a congested cervix – this would mean that the pregnancy itself is fine!

Although this can be worrying, it does stop and training can start once everything has settled down – usually around 12 and 14 weeks.

Bleeding later in the pregnancy - ie. after 12 weeks - is unfortunately not always a benign thing. The main concern is that blood is being lost from the placenta. This would then affect the amount of blood that is reaching the foetus and could compromise its well-being.

From 28 weeks, vaginal bleeding could result in the need for your baby to be delivered early as it is considered to be medico-legally viable. Luckily, this has been found to only happen in about 3.5% of all pregnancies.

Always consult your medical caregivers and talk to your instructor/trainer that so you can be advised correctly and managed properly – both from a health and exercise perspective.

Depending on your stage of pregnancy, they would then advise you on the plan of action, which could include avoiding strenuous activity and/or bed-rest.

(Dr Etti Barsky, MBBCh, MSC Sports Science, director Preggi Bellies South Africa, October 2011)

Preggi Bellies -

For a fitter, stronger, healthier pregnancy and faster recovery after birth

National:   0860 723 559

Web:        http://www.preggibellies.co.za

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