What medical conditions make exercise in pregnancy not OK?

by Dr. Alison Gault

As we all know, for most people, exercise is a fantastic thing to do.  It’s great for the body, mind and spirit. However, during pregnancy, some conditions can occur that make exercise very painful or just plain dangerous for the health of mum and baby.  It is always best to discuss with your primary medical carer if and what sort of exercise is suitable for you before starting out with something new.

As far as muscular and skeletal conditions go, pelvic instability at the sacroiliac or pubic symphysis joints makes most types of exercise a no no.  Your body will tell you this very quickly with sharp pain, clunks and feelings that your pelvis is going to give away.  What can greatly help with these conditions however is specific strengthening exercises prescribed to you by a knowledgeable and trained professional such as an Osteopath, Chiropractor or Physiotherapist. Is is good to do a bit of research or speak to your primary carer for their recommendations in your local area as you want to find a practitioner that has some experience in this more specialized area.

There are some other conditions that causes pain and discomfort such as dysfunction of the sacroiliac and pubic symphysis joints and low back pain where in an acute phase of the condition, exercise could flare up the symptoms and is therefore not recommended for a short period of time.  Unless you have received advice about your own individual circumstances, it is always best to listen to how your body is feeling.  If during or at the end doing physical activity your sore bits feel worse, its probably best to give it a rest for a while.

There are a range of medical conditions for which exercise is an absolute or relative contraindication.  This means that exercise will or could result in very severe and even life threatening conciquences for Mum, baby or both.

  • Examples of conditions in pregnancy with which exercise is a contraindication
  • Heart disease
  • restrictive lung disease
  • incompetent cervix
  • cerclage- stitch to help manage an incompetent cervix
  • multiple gestation at risk of pre-term labour
  • persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnacy
  • ruptured membranes
  • premature labour during the current pregnancy
  • preeclampsia
  • intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • poorly controlled  type 1 diabetes

This is not a complete list so as always, ensure that you discuss any unusual, concerning or new symptoms with your medical carer.[block id=”love-stuff-share”]

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