When is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

For most women, exercise is completely safe, and encouraged during pregnancy. Gone are the days of bed rest and not picking up anything heavier than your handbag. However, in some circumstances, there are considerations that need to be made.

Contraindications to exercise during pregnancy:

  • Ruptured membranes
  • Premature labour
  • Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding
  • Placenta praevia after 26 weeks’ gestation
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Cervical insufficiency/cerclage
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • High-order multiple pregnancy (eg, triplets)
  • Uncontrolled type I diabetes
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Uncontrolled thyroid disease
  • Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory, or systemic disorder

Relative contraindications to exercise during pregnancy (discuss with your doctor before proceeding):

  • Recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Gestational hypertension
  • A history of spontaneous preterm birth
  • Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disease
  • Symptomatic anaemia
  • Malnutrition or eating disorder
  • Twin pregnancy after the 28th week
  • Other significant medical conditions

Reasons to stop physical activity

and consult a healthcare provider:

  • Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest
  • Severe chest pain
  • Regular and painful uterine contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent loss of fluid from the vagina indicating rupture of the membranes
  • Persistent dizziness or faintness that does not resolve on rest
  • Headache
  • Calf pain or swelling


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