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consideraTIONS for exercise during pregnancy

Next, you will  see considerations to take into account for the practice of exercise during pregnancy, extracted from the “Clinical guidelines for physical exercise during pregnancy” published by this research group (see here).

Absolute and relative contraindications
Basic recommendations
Situations to take into account
Postural hygiene
Recommended load and intensity
Pelvic floor strengthening

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.

absolute contraindications
  • Premature rupture of membranes.
  • Threat of preterm labor in current pregnancy.
  • History of preterm birth.
  • Placenta previa after the 20th week of gestation.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Incompetent cervix.
  • Retarded intrauterine growth (RIG).
  • Multiple pregnancy.
  • Uncontrolled type I diabetes.
  • Uncontrolled hypertension.
  • Uncontrolled thyroid disease.
  • Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or similar disorders.
relative contraindications
  • Recurrent losses from previous pregnancies.
  • Gestational hypertension with adequate medical control.
  • Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
  • Symptomatic anemia.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Twin pregnancy after week 28.
  • Other significant medical complications.
basic recommendations to have
an active and healthy pregnancy
stay active

Every woman without medical contraindications should be physically active during pregnancy.

scheduled exercise

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.

physical activity level

Accumulate (at least) 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

practice frequency

Physical activity must be carried out for at least three days a week, although always taking into account the minimum physical activity marked above.

type of activities

Trying to improve aerobic endurance, light muscle strength, balance and motor coordination, flexibility and pelvic floor work.

supine position

If dizziness, nausea or tachycardia occur during exercise in this position, they should avoid this work position.

factors to consider during pregnancy

regular character

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.

risk exercises

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.

potential risks

Sudden movements and positions of extreme muscular tension will be avoided to avoid potential risks.

postural hygiene and tips to work it

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.

Try to sleep on our left side, trying to avoid sleeping supine (“face-up”) or on our right side, and never sleeping prone (“face-down”).


Not “hunching” your back in everyday situations and in some exercises (such as during a squat). To do this, we will work with a non-excessive bending of the knees, with an extension of the dorsal and lumbar area.


When sitting down, support your back correctly (with your butt close to the end of the seat and your back well supported by the backrest) and bend your legs (approximately 90º). It is important not to sit for more than 50 minutes at a time.


It is highly recommended (almost essential) to stretch for 10-15 minutes a day in the areas affected by pain.

recommended load and intensity
for exercise during pregnancy

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.

of pelvic floor
Pelvic floor strengthening is the perfect complement to training during pregnancy (or even for any other stage). It is important to make it compatible with gentle muscular strengthening of the rest of the body, also working on aerobic resistance, balance and motor coordination, as well as flexibility.
Strengthening this area during pregnancy is essential, as it can help us reduce or prevent urinary and fecal incontinence, flatulence, sexual dysfunction and even pelvic organ prolapse. To perform exercises in this area, we have to take into account breathing throughout the exercise (without “holding” the air inside the lungs). We must also avoid contraction of the lower abdomen.
Likewise, we propose the following exercises for the work of the pelvic floor:
“kegel” exercises

Locating the anal and urethral sphincters (individually), we will make contractions of between 5-10 seconds with a rest between each contraction of approximately the same time. We repeat the same process between 8 and 12 times, and switch to the other sphincter. We will start first in the supine position (face-up) and little by little we will vary the position and increase the difficulty (sitting, standing, etc.).

other strengthening exercises

Such as hip abductions, exercises such as the hip thrust or the gluteal bridge, or sitting on a soft surface such as a fitball, working on hip rotations (always under the supervision of a professional).