Exercise in pregnancy: How much is too much during pregnancy?

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Exercising during pregnancy is a very healthy means of maintaining overall wellbeing. I have had some patients who are extreme or elite athletes and more often than not they do need to cut back on exercise from their pre-pregnancy exercise routine. You also don’t want to forget the toll pregnancy will take on the mother’s body as fitness level overall is expected to drop throughout pregnancy.

Intense exercise creates a ‘steal syndrome’, whereby preferential blood flow is directed to muscles and away from the increasing requirements of the placenta. This increases the likelihood of a growth restricted baby, miscarriage or even premature delivery.

Sports involving a significant risk of impact should be avoided such as horse riding, snow skiing and water skiing. During exercise training specifically avoid deep squats and lunges with heavy weights as it increases the possibility of vaginal prolapse. My recommendations are to continue your exercise regime but keep your heart rate under 150. Please beware of starting a new vigorous program. If you are new to exercise then consider walking, swimming or Pilates as reasonable places to start.

It is also important to ensure you avoid overheating and dehydration and receive enough of the right type of nutrition along with drinking approximately 2 litres of water per day.

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