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Why Exercise is Important during Pregnancy

Most exercises are considered safe during pregnancy with some exceptions. Any exercise that can pose a problem to the abdominal region should be avoided. Aggressive sports such as hockey should be avoided alongside with the list outlined below. Apart from the mentioned exercises it is advisable not to stand for prolonged periods of time. Always get your doctor's consent before you embark on any regime. And finally exercise is not bad for the baby or the mother if done safely and at appropriate levels according to the stage of pregnancy.

List of Exercises to be AVOIDEDD

Diving including deep sea diving, sky diving Contact sports Skiing including water skiing , jet skiing Gymnastics
Ballgames including volleyball basketball Racket sports including squash , tennis Horseback riding Mid or long distance competitive events

The Do's and Don'ts of Pregnancy Exercisee


  • If you feel light-headed or breathless, stop immediately
  • Try and rest in between workouts
  • Drink plenty of fluids and have proper meals to stay hydrated and energized. Pregnancy and exercise increases the need of both.
  • Dress appropriately and exercise in cool atmospheres to prevent overheating
  • When getting up from a lying down position, roll unto your side first and then onto all fours
  • Ten minutes warming up and ten minutes cooling down are essential.


  • Avoid any form of exercise or activity that can cause abdominal trauma
  • Don't raise both legs at any time
  • Unless your abdominal muscles are strong do not engage in single leg raises as well
  • Avoid standing in one spot for prolonged periods
  • Do not push yourself till you are totally exhausted
  • Avoid engaging in exercises that could tip your balance
  • Do not perform exercises on your back after the middle of the second trimester
  • Do not exercise if you have a temperature
  • Do not exercise on uneven or rough surfaces now that your joints are lax
  • Do not exercise in humid environments or in temperatures above 29 degrees C

When exercising should be DISCONTINUED when pregnant

Discuss with your doctor immediately should you experience any of these symptoms. These symptoms are indicative that all is not well with your pregnancy. They can be temporary entailing temporary rest periods. You can therefore return to some level of exercise if your doctor approves it. However you must stop exercising if you experience any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath or breathing problems not during exercise
  • Uterine contractions (regular, mild or painful ones): contractions before you a week or two prior to your due date could indicate premature labor.
  • Headache: headaches that persist or are severe can be an early sign of preeclampsia
  • Vaginal bleeding / gush of fluid from vaginal membranes: Leaking of blood or other fluids can point to a number of complications including placenta previa, premature labor and miscarriage.
  • Pain in the calves / increased swelling in your legs: Swelling can be indicative of preeclampsia. It can also be a blood clot in the vein known as deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Chest pain
  • Absence of fetal movement after30 minutes following exercise / Decreased fetal movement: If fetal movements have diminished or stopped there may be problems. Though exercises are known to calm babies down, you should feel movements within 20-30 minutes after you have discontinued your workout.
  • Dizziness or faintness: Can be a sign of anemia or any other conditions
  • Muscle weakness: You can experience either total body weakness or experience muscles weakness in specific areas e.g. the left side of your body

When Exercising should be OFF-LIMITSS

Some medical conditions can make exercising off-limits for you. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle for the longest time, have IUGR, are extremely underweight or overweight, have orthopedic concerns which exercise can worsen, are severely anemic, have type diabetes, have hypertension, have an overactive thyroid or chronic bronchitis, please discuss if exercise is suitable for you during your pregnancy state. If you have the above or the following outlined below or have a history of it your doctor may decide working out is not for you. Heed that advice.

  • Multiple pregnancy since delivery may be early
  • Heart or lung diseases that limit activities
  • Placenta previa after week 26
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension or PID
  • Persistent vaginal bleeding in the 2nd or 3rd trimester
  • Ruptured amniotic membranes
  • Premature labor during existing pregnancy
  • Incompetent cervix

Disadvantages of a workout during Pregnancy

While exercising is definitely a plus in the pregnancy months, there are certain disadvantages. For example:

  • If you over-exert you may experience overall tiredness that can be distressing
  • You may experience an increase in blood pressure
  • If the exercise is too intense or conducted longer than necessary the blood flow to the uterus may be reduced
  • Possibility of injury since your joints are now loosened
  • Inapt exercises can stress the pelvic floor.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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