Regular exercise, with the approval of your healthcare provider or midwife, can often help to reduce the physical discomforts of pregnancy and help with the recovery after the baby is born. There is evidence that physical activity may be especially beneficial for women with gestational diabetes. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who exercised and were physically fit before pregnancy can safely continue exercising throughout the pregnancy. Women who were inactive before pregnancy or who have medical or pregnancy complications should talk with their healthcare provider or midwife before beginning any exercise during pregnancy.
All women should be evaluated by their healthcare provider or midwife before beginning or continuing an exercise program in pregnancy.
Exercise may not be safe if the pregnant woman has any of the following conditions:
Preterm labor in current or past pregnancies
Leaking of amniotic fluid
Shortness of breath
Dizziness and/or fainting
Decreased fetal activity or other complications
Increased heart rate (tachycardia), although heart rate is typically higher in pregnant women
Certain health problems, like high blood pressure or heart disease
The following are some exercises to avoid while pregnant:
High altitude skiing
Any exercise that can cause a serious fall
Exercising on your back after the first trimester (because of reduced blood flow to the uterus)
Vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather, as pregnant women are less efficient at exchanging heat
Exercise involving holding one's breath during exertion. This can cause an increased intra-abdominal pressure
Stroke is a leading cause of death and a
leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).