Maternal heart disease.
Diagnosed with multiple pregnancies e.g. twins.
History of three or more spontaneous miscarriages.
Primary pulmonary hypertension. (increased resistance to the blood flow through the lungs)
Pregnancy induced hypertension. (High blood pressure)
Intrauterine growth retardation (Baby size is smaller than expected).
Placenta Praevia ( a portion of the placenta sits over the cervix making it vulnerable to detachment).
Incompetent cervix (the cervix becomes softer and more open than normal).
Venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (clots to legs or lungs).
Known cardiac valve disease.
Some relative contraindications to training during pregnancy are.
History of bleeding during pregnancy.
Extremely under or overweight.
Breech presentation in third trimester.
I don’t want to just rant and rave about all of the things that can go wrong if you train whilst you are pregnant. Nor do I want scare you off the thought of training during your pregnancy. What I wish to do is help educate you on some of the dangers and to make you aware of how better to avoid any disasters. So before I start recommending any form of training, allow me to explain a little more about some of the risks and benefits that go hand in hand with a pregnancy exercise routine. I would like to see you through each one of your three trimesters and advise on the appropriate changes you will need to implement during each.
Regardless of your level of fitness, a workout during pregnancy will take longer than usual. You must do everything at a deliberate leisurely pace and be certain you have adequate recovery time between exercises.
One important thing to consider while pregnant is maintaining a stable body temperature while your training. Research has suggested that pregnancy increases your internal body temperature, predisposing your body to hyperthermia (overheating). Exercise in general helps to regulate your core body temperature. This is extremely important during pregnancy as this regulation will allow the foetus to develop at a normal level or even an increased rate. It is vitally important for you to make sure your training facility is well ventilated and air conditioned, allowing your body to remain cool throughout your workout. Dress accordingly (tights and layers in cold temperatures, cotton t-shirts and shorts in warm temperatures). Make sure you monitor your body temperature throughout your workout. If you notice any sharp variances, stop training immediately.
It is also vitally important to remain well hydrated throughout your workout. Consume up to 500ml of water before exercise and 1 litre of water over the course of a 1 hour training session. Be aware that lead is harmful to an unborn child, it is found in regular tap water and some soft drinks. Try to avoid potential problems by; using filtered tap or bottled water, and storing juices in plastic or glass containers.
There is actually accumulating evidence to suggest that participation in moderate intensity exercise during a woman’s pregnancy may actually enhance birth weight. While more intense or frequent exercise maintained longer into a woman’s pregnancy may result in lighter babies. Another reason why although it is safe to exercise during pregnancy it is important for the safety of your unborn child to follow the appropriate exercise during pregnancy guidelines.
If you wish to train during pregnancy I recommend that you take regular trips to your obstetrician to verify the existence of maternal-foetal adaptive reserve.
Apparently research has shown that the babies of mothers who exercise have higher IQ’s than babies of mothers who don’t. Although, and I do like to recommend mothers exercise during pregnancy. I have no idea how this study was conducted.
The additional weight you carry, especially late in your pregnancy, add to the effort during walking, climbing or jogging. Whilst pregnant your aerobic work capacity will be unchanged, and typical training adaptations can be found. Hypoglycaemia (A deficiency of glucose in the blood) occurs more easily during exercise in pregnant women, even though lipid provision is exaggerated late in your pregnancy. The influence of maternal exercise on the foetus is evident in a change in breathing patterns and the heart rhythm of the foetus. Pregnant patients with utero-placental insufficiency are more likely to have these foetal changes during exercise.
While you are pregnant a lot of the physiological (organ function), metabolic (energy changes and reserves) and endocrine changes that occur are evident even while you rest, the alterations found during exercise may not be the same as those found in the normal population. The exercise induced cardiopulmonary (Heart rate & blood pressure) changes are generally at a normal or slightly exaggerated level during pregnancy.
Not only will exercising while your pregnant increase your stamina, it will also aid in reducing the risk of gaining huge amounts of weight in the months leading up to childbirth. The idea is that exercise will keep your metabolism at a higher than normal level . As you will still be burning calories while at rest.
Exercise tends to help relax both the body and the mind. This is important during the last trimester. As the final trimester generally sees the mother having trouble sleeping. Exercising during pregnancy should help you to experience less sleep problems as training promotes positive hormone release, which will in turn help you to unwind, stay calm and enjoy regular sleeping patterns.
Follow up chapters on the essential guide to exercise during pregnancy will be-
Chapter 2, Trimester 1.
Chapter 3, Trimester 2.
Chapter 4, Trimester 3.
Chapter 5, Congratulations.