Date: May 21, 2019

Mainly sunny. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 15. UV index 8 or very high.


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Physical Activity

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Guidelines for Physical Activity during Pregnancy

This page was reviewed or revised on Monday, December 21, 2015 3:27 PM

The second trimester is the best time to start a new program or to increase the demands of your present routine. Avoid strenuous activity during the first trimester of pregnancy. This may harm the developing baby.

  • Regular exercise is better than irregular activity
  • Start exercise with a warm-up and end it with a cool-down
  • Drink plenty of liquids before, during and after physical activity
  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather
  • Limit or avoid things that require jumping, jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
  • Avoid sports that have a high risk for injuries or involve a great deal of balance (i.e. scuba diving, downhill skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, parachute jumping and hang gliding).
  • Remember – Exercise to stay fit, not to lose weight. Losing weight during pregnancy can result in growth problems for the baby.

Already Physically Active?

The type and amount of exercise you do will decide whether it is safe to continue during pregnancy. Most women can continue their normal exercise program during pregnancy with no problems. You may need to adjust parts of your exercise routine to suit your comfort level, especially in the later months of pregnancy.

Avoid exercising on your back after the fourth month of pregnancy as this decreases the blood supply to the uterus.

Signs of Overdoing It

  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • A "gush" of fluid from the vagina
  • Constant uterine contractions
  • Increasing back pain or pubic pain
  • Strange stomach pain
  • Sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face
  • Swelling, pain and redness in the calf of one leg (phlebitis).
  • Constant headaches or vision problems • Unexplained dizziness or faintness
  • Extreme fatigue, throbbing heart, chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Failure to gain weight (less than 1 kg per month during the last two trimesters)
  • Less frequent or absent movements by the baby
  • Increased heart rate or high blood pressure following exercise (one hour or more).

If any of the above occur, STOP and consult your doctor.

Pregnancy and Physical Activity Help Videos (featuring Dr. Michelle Mottola with Niagara Region Public Health)

Use the following videos to help stay physically active during your pregnancy without hurting the baby:

  1. Avoiding Back Pain During Pregnancy
  2. Abdominal Exercises During Pregnancy
  3. Flexibility and Joint Issues During Pregnancy
  4. How To Find Your Target Heart Rate
  5. Strength Training During Pregnancy

Useful Links:

Public Health Agency of Canada

Healthy Pregnancy Guide

CAAWS - Mothers in Motion

The influences of sedentary behaviour versus physical activity on cardiovascular in pregnancy