When is it unsafe to exercise for pregnant women

When not to exercise during pregnancy

Sometimes, your practitioner might tell you that exercise during your pregnancy is strictly forbidden to protect your health or your baby's health (or both).

When you SHOULD NOT exercise during pregnancy

  • Heart or lung disease
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets, for example)
  • Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure)
  • Preterm labor
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks
  • Ruptured membranes (meaning your water has broken)

You may still be able to do limited movements, such as exercises to strengthen your arms and back. Be sure to ask your doctor whether it's safe for you to walk, gently stretch, and do other low-impact activities. Ask your healthcare provider to tell you exactly what activities are not allowed and whether you need to cut back on the intensity or duration of your workouts.

Also, exercise with caution if you're a heavy smoker, extremely obese, very underweight, or unused to being physically active.

When to check with your doctor before you start exercising

Having certain other conditions means you need to exercise with caution. Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. However, even if your doctor gives you the go-ahead to work out, don't overdo it. Ask your provider to recommend a safe exercise routine if you have:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Contractions or preterm labor
  • Calf pain or swelling (which could indicate a blood clot)
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Fluid leaking (or gushing) from your vagina

In the above cases, go to emergency care immediately and get treated.