When NOT to Exercise During Pregnancy

A Must Read for Pregnant Mommas

I wish I could say that absolutely every pregnant woman should & can exercise during their pregnancy. However there are going to be some of you who can’t, for many different reasons. Below I have listed what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated for contraindicated reasons women should NOT exercise or should STOP exercising. They also advise that every pregnancy is different & should be evaluated by your doc to determine what is best for both you & your baby. Just because you were able to exercise your first (2nd, 3rd, etc.) pregnancy doesn’t guarantee you can for the next & vice versa.

ACOG recommends NOT exercising if you (the pregnant mom) experience or have any of the following:

  • Hamodynamically significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  • Multiple gestations at risk for premature labor
  • Persistent 2nd or 3rd trimester bleeding
  • Placentia praevia after 26 weeks gestations
  • Premature labor during current pregnancy *side note: be sure you are drinking plenty of water & staying hydrated if you are/have experienced premature labor
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/Pregnancy induced hypertension *side note: High Blood Pressure

ACOG recommends getting your Doc to give you the “OK” if you can answer “YES” to any of the following:

  • Severe anemia *side note: Low Iron levels. You should be on an iron supplement if you are anemic, if not talk with your Doc. Beef is a great source of iron along with kidney beans, & spinach.
  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Extreme morbid obesity
  • Extremely underweight (body mass index < 12)
  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • Poorly controlled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Orthopedic limitations
  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Heavy smoker *side note: Quit smoking during your pregnancy!!

ACOG warning signs to STOP exercising during pregnancy:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dyspnea prior to exertion *side note: difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling (need to rule out thrombophiebitis)
  • Preterm labor
  • Decreased fetal movement *side note: babies tend to move less when you move more & move more when you stop moving. Thus the reason many babies love to be rocked/swayed to sleep & tend to be night owls. They got used to you moving & rocking them to sleep before so why not after. If you are concerned about a decrease in your baby’s movements, stop moving, drink plenty of water & rest for a while. If you don’t feel your baby move as they usually do it’s a good idea to call your Doc.
  • Amniotic fluid leakage *side note: go see your Doc! You’re probably about to go into labor!

For the majority of you pregnant mamas out there it’s completely safe & absolutely recommended that you exercise during your pregnancy. If you have any of the above symptoms please talk with your Doc & listen to them. Do what is best for both you & your baby.

Don’t worry if you can’t exercise during your pregnancy, it’s a major bummer, yes, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. If you can’t exercise during your pregnancy, either part or the whole 9 months be sure to do your kegel exercises & continue to eat healthy!


Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 267. ACOG. Obstet Gynecol 2002;99:171-173

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