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Though exercise in pregnancy is generally safe, moms-to-be embarking on an exercise program should be aware of warning signs. If any of these symptoms occur, stop exercising and contact your practitioner: sudden and severe abdominal pain; regular uterine contractions lasting 30 minutes once exercising stops; dizziness; and vaginal bleeding. Other signs to watch for are decreased fetal activity, visual disturbances, or numbness in any part of the body.
For some women, such as those with heart disease, thrombophlebitis (blood clots), recent pulmonary embolism, or for those who have a “high risk” pregnancy, exercise may not be recommended. In taking the complete medical history, the practitioner will determine if maternal conditions limit, or exclude, an exercise program.
Most women are able to safely participate in an exercise program during pregnancy (Md Med J, 1996; 45(8):637-41). As long as a mom-to-be listens to her body’s cues and follows common sense guidelines, exercise can be a valuable way to improve overall well being during this special time. And, best of all, a fit mother will feel her very best right from the start of her new baby’s life.