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Guidelines for exercise during and after pregnancy

Guidelines for exercise during and after pregnancy

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Before exercising, during or before pregnancy, it is advisable to eat high fibre, high carbohydrate snacks, such as an apple, dried fruit, banana or whole wheat muffin, as your metabolic functions accelerate and your energy requirements increase.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

  • Exercise non-competitively at least three times a week.
  • Don’t exercise vigorously in hot, humid weather.
  • Don’t exercise if you have a fever.
  • Avoid all jarring, bouncing movements and rapid direction changes.
  • Exercise only on a well-sprung surface.
  • Use good footwear. Adequate support to your feet is essential.
  • A good bra for support and comfort is essential.
  • Avoid deep flexion or extension of your joints to protect them from injury.
  • Do warming up exercises, such as slow walking or stationary cycling, for at least five minutes before any vigorous exercise.
  • Cooling down is essential. Do gentle static stretching exercises.
  • Monitor your response to exercise by measuring your pulse-rate.
  • Rise gradually from the floor to avoid a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can result in dizziness.
  • An increase in your metabolic rate during pregnancy may predispose you to overheating and dehydration, which may have a detrimental effect on your baby.
  • Drink liquids before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Sedentary women should plan a personalised exercise programme to gradually increase levels of activity.
  • Active women should recognise their new limitations and follow the exercise guidelines.
  • Should you experience any unusual symptoms, stop exercising immediately and consult your caregiver.

Have fun… enjoy your exercising!

Also remember when exercising…

  •  Your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats a minute.
  •  The duration of strenuous activities should not exceed 15 minutes.
  •  After 16 weeks gestation, reduce the amount of time spent on your back. Lie on your side to reduce the risk of hypotension (drop in blood pressure).
  • Don’t hold your breath while exercising. Concentrate on controlled breathing techniques.
  • Ensure your kilojoule intake meets your additional energy requirements.

When to stop exercising

Should you experience any of the following, stop exercising immediately and contact your caregiver.

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Pain of any kind – chest, head, back, hips or pubis.
  • Dizziness, fainting.
  • Shortness of breath. Palpitations, tachycardia.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Generalised oedema.
  • Decreased foetal activity.
  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking of amniotic fluid.
  • Onset of uterine contractions.


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