What Exercises Can I Do During Pregnancy and Which Should I Avoid?

In a healthy pregnancy without complications, exercise is encouraged in pregnancy.

Pregnancy is not a disease and should be thought of as preparation for a big race (labor) for which you should be in tip top shape.

Before you begin or continue any pre-existing exercise regimen, ask your obstetrician about your specific pregnancy and the do’s and don’ts that are unique for you.

If there are no pre-existing or current problems, most exercises are fine such as swimming, tennis, yoga, pilates, stationary bicycle, elliptical machine, aerobic exercise, zumba, jogging and running. Exercises that pre-dispose you to falling and injuring your belly such as downhill skiiing, bicycle riding, roller blading and roller skating are not recommended.

Scuba diving is contra-indicated. There is no target heart-rate limit and when you are tired you should listen to your body and stop. After 16 weeks, any floor exercises should not be done flat on your back, and you should put a towel behind your right hip to wedge your uterus to the left to decrease the chances of the large pregnant uterus causing aorto-caval compression (pressure of the uterus onto the large maternal blood vessels called the aorta and vena cava, which can potentially decrease blood flow back to the placental unit and the baby).

If you have a high risk pregnancy such as preterm labor, placenta previa or a multiple gestation, your obstetrician may limit or ban vigorous exercise in pregnancy.


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