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  • Writer's pictureDr. de Castro

Exercise and Pregnancy

Exercising throughout pregnancy has been fuzzy, foggy area for many mothers.

Can I exercise?

Should I exercise?

What kind of exercises should I do?

Unfortunately medicine has been a little slow on changing the recommendations to what we know to be true...exercise is GOOD!

Great news, a paper came out in 2021 titled Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy: Guideline Critical Appraisal and Implentation Tool. This paper goes over the 20129 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy, which uses evidence based recommendations to promote the health of mom and baby.

So what are these recommendations? Let's dive in!

First and foremost, the contraindications...

There are two types of contraindications, absolute and relative. Absolute means under no circumstance should you be participating in a treatment if you fall in these categories. Relative contraindications means you may be able to do the treatment, but caution and review with your doctor is important.

Absolute contraindications for exercise and pregnancy include:

  • Ruptured membranes

  • Premature labour

  • Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding

  • Incompetent cervix

  • Uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension or thyroid

  • and more...

For relative contraindications:

  • Recurrent pregnancy loss

  • Malnutrition

  • Gestational hypertension

  • Symptomatic anemia

  • and others...

If you are clear of these, you may engage in exercise, but keep the below in mind while you are participating in physical activity.

Stop and contact your doctor right away if...

  • Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not get better with rest

  • Severe chest pain

  • Regular and painful uterine contractions

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Persistent loss of fluid from the vagina

  • Persistent dizziness or faintness that does not resolve with rest

When planning your exercise or activity, keep these things in mind...

  • Avoid excessive heat, especially with high hunitidy

  • Avoid contact sports, or sports with danger of falling

  • Avoid scuba diving

  • Avoid training at altitude if never done so

  • Maintain adequate nutrition and hydration

Ok, you know you can exercise and now what to watch out for. So without further ado, here are the recommendations!

  • All women (without contraindications) are encouraged to be physically active throughout their pregnancy

  • Pregnant women should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week to see the health benefits and reductions of pregnancy complications

  • Activity should happen at 3 times a week, with daily being even more benefical

  • Aerobic and resistance training activity is encouraged, yoga is also beneficial

  • Pelvic floor work can be performed daily, bonus points if you see a Pelvic Floor PT or chiro!

  • If an exercise performed on her back begins to induce light headiness, nausea or unwell feeling, modify that exercise.

If you are trying to conceive, pregnant or post-natal, schedule an appointment with me and we can go over a program specific for you and your needs!

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