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Pregnancy and Before

Physical Activity during Pregnancy

Being active every day is encouraged throughout your pregnancy. You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity over 3 or more days each week, unless you have any of the following conditions. 

You may continue with your usual daily activities but you shouldn’t do any strenuous activities if you have the following conditions:

• Ruptured membranes

• Premature labour

• Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding

• Placenta previa after 28 weeks gestation

• Preeclampsia

• Incompetent cervix

• Intrauterine growth restriction

• Pregnant with triplets or more

• Uncontrolled Type I diabetes

• Uncontrolled high blood pressure

• Uncontrolled thyroid disease

• Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or systemic disorder

You need to talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity before you start if you have the following conditions:

• Recurrent pregnancy loss

• Gestational hypertension

• A history of spontaneous preterm birth

• Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disease

• Symptomatic anemia

• Malnutrition

• Eating disorder

• Twin pregnancy after the 28th week

• Other significant medical conditions

If you are already physically active, continue throughout your pregnancy. There may be times when you may need to change your physical activity.

If you are not meeting this target, start by walking for 15 minutes three times each week. Gradually work up to the target of 150 minutes over a minimum of three days.

Try a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities. Yoga and/or gentle stretching may be helpful. If you wish to exercise beyond the guideline, such as high intensity exercise, talk to your health care provider.

  • More energy
  • Better mood
  • Better sleep
  • Healthy weight gain
  • Less stress
  • Better posture
  • More oxygen for your baby
  • Less chance of developing pregnancy related diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Helps you to have energy and flexibility for labour
  • An easier recovery after birth

You should be able to talk normally during moderate intensity physical activities.

If you feel tired, stop.

Make sure you drink lots of water before, during and after physical activity. This will prevent overheating and dehydration.

Avoid outdoor activities in extreme weather conditions.

 
  • During pregnancy and after birth, daily pelvic floor muscle training such as Kegel exercises can help reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Here is how you do this:
  • Get comfortable
  • Stand, sit, or lie down with your knees slightly apart
  • Squeeze the muscles you would use to hold back pee or poop
  • Tighten the muscles for 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure you keep breathing normally
  • Now relax the muscles for about 10 seconds. Aim for 10 Kegels per session

Stop exercising if you experience:

  • Excessive shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Painful or persistent uterine contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Any “gush” of fluid from the vagina
  • Dizziness, faintness or blurred vision
  • Sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
  • Changes in usual fetal movement
  • Swelling, pain, and redness in the calves
  • Abnormally high heart rate that does not drop when the activity is stopped.
  • Sudden change in body temperature.
  • Strong, sharp pain in the pubis, back, abdomen, or chest.

Review:

The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: Physical Activity and Pregnancy (PDF 1.4MB) English / Francais 

Watch these videos on prenatal fitness:

Avoid Back Pain during Pregnancy

Abdominal Exercise during Pregnancy 

Flexibility and Joint Issues during Pregnancy

Strength Training during Pregnancy 

How To Find Your Target Heart Rate

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