Healthy pregnant women without exercise contraindications are encouraged to exercise while pregnant. Regular
exercise while pregnant may help control gestational weight gain, improve wellbeing and mood, and may play a
role in the prevention of pregnancy-related complications.
Prior to starting an exercise program, all pregnant women are advised to talk with their health care
The PARmed-X for Pregnancy was developed as a screening tool for pregnant women who wish to exercise.
PARmed-X for Pregnancy (PDF)
Healthy Eating and Active Living for Pregnancy (Alberta Health Services) (PDF)
The North American Society of Obstetric Medicine.
Information for women with gestational diabetes.
Contraindications to Prenatal Exercise
Absolute Contraindications to Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy
- Ruptured membranes
- Preterm labour.
- Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
- Incompetent cervix.
- Growth restricted fetus.
- High order multiple gestation (≥triplets).
- Placenta previa after 28th week.
- Persistent 2nd or 3rd trimester bleeding.
- Uncontrolled Type I diabetes, thyroid disease, or other serious cardiovascular, respiratory, or systemic disorder.
Relative Contraindications to Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy
- Previous spontaneous abortion.
- Previous preterm birth.
- Mild/moderate cardiovascular disorder.
- Mild/moderate respiratory disorder.
- Anemia (Hb <100 g/L).
- Malnutrition or eating disorder.
- Twin pregnancy after 28th week.
- Other significant medical conditions.
Reasons to Stop Exercise and Consult Your Health Care Provider
- Excessive shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Painful uterine contractions (more than 6-8 per hour).
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Any "gush" of fluid from vagina (suggesting premature rupture of the membranes).
- Dizziness or faintness.
General Precautions for Prenatal Exercise
- Past 4 months of pregnancy, exercises normally done in the supine position should be altered to be done side lying, standing or seated on an incline.
- Warm up and cool down is recommended to prevent injury as joints are more prone to injury during pregnancy.
- If bulging or rippling of the connective tissue along the midline of the abdomen (diastasis recti) is seen during abdominal exercise, these exercises should be stopped.
- Emphasis must be placed on continuous breathing throughout exercise.
- Exchale on exertion, inhale on relaxation - avoid holding your breath.
- Maintain adequate nutrition and hydration before, during and after exercise.