Undertaking Exercise in Pregnancy

If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you should seek medical supervision while undertaking exercise in pregnancy:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Persistent bleeding in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters
  • Pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Preterm labour (previous / present)
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Cervical weakness / cerclage
  • Placenta praevia after 26 weeks
  • Preterm prelabour rupture of membranes
  • Heavy smoker (over 20 cigarettes a day)
  • Orthopaedic limitations
  • Poorly controlled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Multiple gestation (individualised and medically supervised)
  • Poorly controlled thyroid disease
  • Morbid obesity (body mass index greater than 40)
  • Malnutrition or eating disorder
  • Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus
  • Poorly controlled seizures
  • Anaemia (haemoglobin less than 100 g/l)

If you experience any of the following warning signs, you should stop exercising immediately, and seek medical advice or speak to your Physiotherapist if you are unsure.

  • Excessive shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Painful uterine contractions or preterm labour
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Abdominal pain, particularly in back or pubic area
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Reduced fetal movement
  • Shortness of breath before exertion
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling

(The above is taken from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Guidelines 2006)

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