Even though we’re huge advocates for exercising during pregnancy, there are certain things that should definitely be avoided during this time. Remember your baby’s health and wellbeing will always come first and outweigh any fitness goals or dreams of climbing the Everest.

As for the duration and intensity of the exercise, you can maintain the rhythm you had before after checking with your doctor first. There are exceptions though, below is a list of exercises that you should avoid during this time due to the stress they inflict in your system and the risk that comes with them:

• Heavy weight lifting (I mean heavy, not 5-lbs dumbbells)
• Exercises that requiere holding your breath
• Exercises where you lie flat on your back
• Contact sports such as hockey, basketball, football…
• Scuba diving
• Gymnastics, horseback or any activity that put you at risk of falling
• Altitude sports that may reduce the oxygen supply to your baby

According to the American Congress of Obsteticians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you shouldn’t exercise at all if you have one of the following:

• Heart disease
• Restrictive lung disease
• Incompetent cervix
• Multiple gestations at risk for premature labor
• Persistent bleeding
• Placenta praevia after 26 weeks gestations
• Ruptured membranes
• Preeclampsia/Pregnancy induced hypertension

The ACOG lists the following red flags as signs that you should stop exercising right away and go see your doctor:

• Vaginal bleeding
• Difficulty breathing
• Dizziness
• Headaches
• Chest pain
• Muscle weakness
• Calf pain or swelling
• Preterm labor
• Decreased fetal movement (you’ll notice if your baby is not moving around as usual when you stop and rest)
• Amniotic fluid leakage

It may seem like overwhelming lists and things to look after. Take your time reading through them and taking note of what applies to you and discard what doesn’t. If you’re not sure about something or need reassurance, reach out to your doctor.