For most women with an uncomplicated pregnancy, exercise is healthy and enjoyable. Regular exercise is more advantageous than only intermittent activity. It is best to exercise a minimum of three times weekly.
Consider modifying your activity according to your symptoms. Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion and stop exercising if fatigued. Try to exercise five days a week for thirty minutes daily. Pregnancy requires an additional 300 calories a day. Pregnant women who exercise must be sure to maintain an adequate diet.
It is important to maintain hydration, wear appropriate clothing, and maintain a safe environment during exercise. A warm-up routine and a cool-down phase are essential to avoid muscle injury and light-headedness.
During pregnancy, the type of activity is more important than the length of time of the activity. Sudden forceful contact should be avoided. These activities include football, boxing, soccer, and hockey. Although rare, severe abdominal trauma can result in the placenta being detached from the uterine wall. Other sports that could cause similar injuries include downhill skiing, ice-skating, gymnastics, horseback riding, mountain climbing, basketball, and baseball. These sports should be approached with caution and only by people who feel the risk of serious physical trauma is minimal. The hormones of pregnancy soften connective tissue, placing joints and ligaments at greater risk for dislocations and strains.
Avoid straight leg lifts, sit-ups with straight legs, deep knee bends, jerking motions with sit-ups, or any exercises like these, likely to cause back strain and/or injury.
Water sports to be avoided include water skiing, diving, and scuba diving.
Weight training programs, when properly conducted, are safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Exercises requiring the patient to be on her back should be avoided after 20 weeks gestation. Below is a list of activities you may continue while pregnant.
- Water aerobics
- Cross country skiing
- Low-impact aerobics
- Weight training – if done carefully. Joints and ligaments change during pregnancy because of hormone changes. You are at a slightly increased risk of injuring yourself while pregnant.
- Sudden forceful contact sports (football, soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball)
- Downhill skiing
- Ice skating
- Horseback riding
- Mountain climbing
- Water skiing
- Scuba diving
These recommendations are intended for women with no additional risk factors for adverse maternal or perinatal outcomes. The following conditions are CONTRAINDICATIONS to exercise:
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- Previous pre-term labor – in other pregnancy
- Threatened pre-term labor – in this pregnancy
- Placenta Previa
- Incompetent cervix – Cerclage
- Multiple gestations
- Intrauterine growth retardation
- Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
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