Contraindications for exercising during pregnancy
It is essential to see a health professional before starting any exercise during pregnancy. As you will see below (according to the most important clinical guidelines on this subject) there are two types of contraindications; the absolute ones in which exercise is completely contraindicated and the relative ones in which the health professional must be the one who assesses the risks/benefits of exercise.
- Premature rupture of membranes.
- Threat of preterm labor in current pregnancy.
- History of preterm birth.
- Placenta previa after the 20th week of gestation.
- Incompetent cervix.
- Retarded intrauterine growth (RIG).
- Multiple pregnancy.
- Uncontrolled type I diabetes.
- Uncontrolled hypertension.
- Uncontrolled thyroid disease.
- Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or similar disorders.
- Recurrent losses from previous pregnancies.
- Gestational hypertension with adequate medical control.
- Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
- Symptomatic anemia.
- Eating Disorders.
- Twin pregnancy after week 28.
- Other significant medical complications.
Every woman without medical contraindications should be physically active during pregnancy.
To be active, the best option is to carry out exercise within a program supervised and developed by a professional, or at least have professional advice.
Accumulate (at least) 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Physical activity must be carried out for at least three days a week, although always taking into account the minimum physical activity marked above.
Trying to improve aerobic endurance, light muscle strength, balance and motor coordination, flexibility and pelvic floor work.
If dizziness, nausea or tachycardia occur during exercise in this position, they should avoid this work position.
Exercise during pregnancy should be regular, never occasional.
Hypopressive exercises should be avoided throughout the pregnancy process.
It is recommended not to perform impact activities during pregnancy.
It is recommended to maintain an adequate fluid intake before and after the activity to be performed.
Activities or sports that potentially pose a risk of falling or trauma should be avoided.
Special caution with high temperatures or very humid environments, avoiding hyperthermia (body temperature above 38ºC).
Avoid Valsalva maneuver (maneuver that prevents or hinders the expulsion of air to the outside, by blocking the glottis or keeping the nose and mouth closed.
Sudden movements and positions of extreme muscular tension will be avoided to avoid potential risks.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes a true physiological and hormonal transformation, but also with respect to balance, anatomy and biomechanics. These changes affect the entire body, such as the back, legs and arms.
A fundamental change is the fact that the center of gravity varies its position with respect to the state prior to pregnancy (it moves forward causing changes in posture and balance, as well as the involvement of certain joints such as the knees or ankles) .
This is why (and for other reasons), it is very likely that there will be pain in the area of the legs, ankles, hips and/or back, which is why it is essential to work on hygiene or postural education to alleviate or avoid these. pains.
In addition to the inevitable physiological changes, there are factors that can be corrected, such as a lack of musculature in the back area, by working on muscle strengthening in that area. For this reason, we will mention a series of possible pain triggers, which can be avoided or alleviated by complying with a series of very important premises:
- Bad posture when sleeping.
- Poor education or postural hygiene.
- Little musculature in the area of the back, pelvic floor and/or legs.
Speaking about the load and intensity of exercise during pregnancy, we find some considerations to take into account. In the first place, there must be some “limits” in which we will have to stop the activity, and within these limits we will find:
- Do not maintain a body temperature above 38ºC for a long time.
- When nausea, dizziness, vomiting, tachycardia, etc. appear, immediately stop the activity.
- Avoid high impact activities..
The exercise to be performed should be of moderate-mild intensity. To calculate the intensity of the exercise we can work between 50-55% and 65-70% of the Maximum Heart Rate (being able to calculate this, for example, with the Karvonen Formula). We can also use the Borg Perceived Effort Scale (ranging from 6 to 20), where the exercise would be approximately 12-14.
We have to take into account that the main part of the session should not last more than 20 minutes of continuous work. A good idea would be to take breaks of 2-3 minutes between part and part of the session (of course also take smaller breaks between series and series, or between exercise and exercise) in order to lower the temperature and the Heart Rate.