Signs to Quit Exercising When You’re Pregnant - dummies

Signs to Quit Exercising When You’re Pregnant

By Catherine Cram, Tere Stouffer Drenth

Part of Fit Pregnancy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Exercising during your pregnancy has many benefits: overall health, helping to gain the proper weight, and establishing a routine that you can keep even after you have the baby. While you’re exercising, be aware of the following indicators that you’re working too hard. If you experience any of these signs, stop exercising and call your healthcare provider:

  • Contractions: Contractions are a positive sign only if you’re within a week or two of your due date. Otherwise, contractions may indicate premature labor.

  • Dizziness: This could be a sign of anemia (low red-blood-cell count that results in weakness and fatigue).

  • Dyspnea: Dyspnea is abnormal or uncomfortable breathing while exercising. If you’re experiencing dyspnea, you may have shortness of breath before you exercise, rapid and shallow breathing at any time, or coughing at any time.

  • Headache: Although many pregnant women report an increase in headaches during their pregnancies (often brought on by fatigue and stress), if you experience a severe headache or a less severe one that doesn’t seem to go away, contact your healthcare provider. Headaches can be an early sign of preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure).

  • Increased swelling in your legs: This could be a sign of preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and fluid retention and can be quite serious. It could also indicate deep-vein thrombosis, a blood clot that develops in a vein.

  • Muscle weakness: Muscle weakness can take a couple of different forms: total-body weakness (in which you feel weak all over) or specific muscle weakness (such as your right arm or left side of your body).

  • Vaginal bleeding and/or leaking of amniotic fluid: Leaking blood or other fluids can be the result of several complications, including placenta previa (in which the placenta, the organ that grows in your uterus to provide nutrients for the fetus and eliminate its waste, blocks all or part of the cervix), placenta abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus before delivering your baby), premature labor, and miscarriage.

  • You can’t feel your baby moving: If you’ve felt movements (these usually begin between the 18th and 22nd weeks), and then they stop, your baby may be experiencing problems. Keep in mind, however, that your baby will probably be calm during exercise, but you should start to feel movement again about 20 to 30 minutes after you stop.