Precautions for exercise while pregnant

Because pregnancy causes changes to body mass and blood volume, there are some basic precautions to take when exercising:

  • Drink more fluid than normal before and during exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing to avoid overheating, and don’t exercise if you have a temperature. (There is some evidence to suggest that the baby’s health is put at risk if the mother is overheated, either from vigorous exercise or from an illness that causes a fever.)
  • Eat plenty of carbohydrates to replace your own energy levels quickly after exercise.
  • Avoid exercising while lying flat on your back once you are more than 20 weeks pregnant.
  • Avoid exercise where the oxygen supply can be severely compromised (e.g. scuba-diving, high-altitude climbing).
  • Avoid exercise where you may get hit directly in the abdomen, especially later in pregnancy.
  • Stop exercising if you get any vaginal bleeding, leakage of amniotic fluid or painful uterine contractions, or if you feel very faint, get chest pain or have excessive shortness of breath.