This article outlines sporting and other activity issues you should be aware of when you are pregnant.
In a normal, healthy pregnancy, some exercise is good. However, you should check with your GP, or midwife, that exercising won’t be a risk for you, also ask them about the particular exercise that you want to do.
- cycling (but not after the second trimester – after 26 weeks – due to the risk of falls)
- exercise bike
Avoid dangerous and strenuous activities
Most of us would not consider the following at the best of times, least of all when pregnant – but some people can’t get enough of them. Knowing you have to stop must be hard!! Nevertheless due to the risk of miscarriage or premature labour, some activities should be avoided.
Basically, avoid activities that involve high altitudes due to the changes in oxygen levels that might trigger a premature labour or those which can involve a decrease in oxygen:
- hot air ballooning
- scuba diving
- alpine skiing
Avoid activities where there is a risk of hard falls, or where you might be thrown off balance:
- horse riding
- water skiing
- bungee jumping
This is not an exhaustive list (just exhausting!) always consult your GP or midwife if you are pregnant and want to exercise.
Complications – always seek immediate medical advice if any of the following happen if you are exercising and are pregnant:
- dizziness or headaches,
- chest pains or heart palpitations (when you notice an irregular heartbeat),
- severe or rapid swelling or your hands, feet or face,
- vaginal pains, bleeding, or contractions, or
- having difficulty walking.
If any of the above happen – stop exercising and seek medical advice immediately.
What activities should I avoid during pregnancy?
Fairground rides such as roller coasters, can be dangerous if you’re pregnant because the rapid stops and starts may cause damage to your womb (uterus). Most rides at theme parks and funfairs have signs that advise pregnant women not to go on them.
If you work in an environment that exposes you to chemicals, radiation, X-rays or lead you may be putting your baby at risk. The same is true if you have a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting.
If you have concerns you should discuss them with your GP, midwife, occupational health nurse, union representative or Human Resources department.
If your work involves a known and recognised risk it may be illegal for you continue, and your employer must offer you suitable alternative work on terms and conditions that are not substantially less favourable than your original job. If no safe alternative is available, your employer should suspend you on full pay for as long as necessary to avoid any risk.
If you are working during pregnancy you may find that you get very tired during the first and last weeks of pregnancy. Try to use any break to rest, relax and eat.
If you are currently working 9 to 5 it may be a good idea to ask your employer to modify your hours so you do not have to travel during the rush hour, which can prove stressful and tiring for some women.
Some women are worried that exposure to VDUs (Visual Display Units on computers) may affect their baby. The latest research shows no evidence of any risk.
Other related articles
Tell me about driving and travelling by train when pregnant
Health and beauty in pregnancy – what should I avoid?
Can I fly and go abroad when I’m pregnant?