Contraindicated Exercise During Pregnancy
Unless your doctor has advised you otherwise, you can safely participate in most fitness and sports activities during your pregnancy, with modifications, such as those described in the Web pages on Flexibility Training During Pregnancy, Strength Training and Core Conditioning During Pregnancy, and Cardiovascular Conditioning During Pregnancy, as well in this section. However, certain inherently high-risk activities are contraindicated during pregnancy. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy.
Some Activities that Present High Risk for Pregnant Women - Competitive and/or High Impact Sports
- Scuba Diving
- River rafting
- Horseback Riding
- Snow skiing and snow boarding
- Water skiing
- Skydiving and bungee jumping
- Ice-skating and ice hockey
- Rock climbing
- Road biking and mountain biking
Please note that our list of risky activities is not all-inclusive. Obviously, you should refrain from engaging in all extreme sports activities if you are pregnant. Also, pregnant women should also avoid vigorous exercise at high altitudes, especially if not fully acclimated. Due to decreased oxygen at higher altitudes, pregnant women experience elevated levels of perceived exertion during moderate physical activities like walking. Backpacking and hiking at altitude, even on fairly level terrain, may be too stressful for even very fit women, especially after 20 weeks gestation.
Conditions that Contraindicate Exercise during Pregnancy
This Web site lists only some of the kinds of medical conditions that could contraindicate exercise during pregnancy. If you have a condition that appears on this Web page, or if you have any other medical condition, speak to your doctor about activities that you may need to avoid during your pregnancy.
Some of the Cited Medical Conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Multiple gestation
- High blood-pressure
- pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- Bleeding in the second or third trimester
- Premature rupture of the membranes
- Pre-term labor, or history of pre-term labor
- placenta previa
- Incompetent cervix and/or cerclage
It's a good idea to talk to your doctor about screening you for any medical pathology that might cause complications and make exercise during pregnancy ill advised. The onset of some serious medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes, or high blood-pressure, can occur for the first time during pregnancy.
Warning Signs to Stop Exercise and Consult with Your Doctor
- Significant fatigue or muscle weakness
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leakage of amniotic fluid
- Dizziness or fainting
- Swelling of the ankles, calves, hands, or face
- Abdominal pain
- Severe headache
- Vision problems
- Elevated heart rate or blood pressure that doesn't return to normal within 30 minutes after completion of an exercise session.