18 February 2011

FAQs about exercise during pregnancy

Perfectly Pregnant answers common questions about exercise during pregnancy.

Q: Is exercise safe during pregnancy?
A: For the mom-to-be with a healthy, normal pregnancy, exercise can be very safe. For those who have experienced pre-term labour, or had some obstetrical complications in this, or previous pregnancies, exercise may not be recommended, or a programme may need to be specially tailored to fit their specific needs. The bottom-line? Pregnant women should not attempt a fitness programme without consulting their practitioner first. Only by taking a full medical history can your healthcare provider recommend a routine that will be right for you and your baby.

Q: I have been told not to exercise on my back while I am pregnant. Why?
A: Exercising on your back for too long, particularly after the fourth month, can decrease the flow of blood to the uterus and should therefore be avoided.

  • Jogging more that 4 km a day
  • Horseback riding
  • Water-skiing
  • Diving and jumping into pools
  • Scuba diving (especially as decompression sickness is hazardous to the foetus)
  • Sprinting as this provides too much oxygen too quickly
  • Downhill skiing as you risk a possible fall
  • Cross-country skiing above altitudes of 10 000 feet as the high altitude deprives the foetus and mother of oxygen
  • Contact sports such as football
  • Callisthenics not designed for pregnant women which may pull on the abdomen or stretch the inner thigh muscles or force air into the vagina


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