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Patient education: Activity during pregnancy (The Basics)

Patient education: Activity during pregnancy (The Basics)

What do I need to do differently while I am pregnant? — During pregnancy, most people can be as active as they were before they got pregnant. This includes traveling, working, exercising, and having sex. If you have any questions about doing an activity during pregnancy, be sure to ask your doctor or midwife.

People with certain conditions might need to limit their activity. If your doctor or midwife thinks you should limit your activity, they will let you know.

Travel — You can drive and travel by car throughout your pregnancy. But when traveling by car, it's important to:

Always wear your seat belt. The shoulder belt should go between your breasts and to the side of your belly. The lap belt should go under your belly.

Take plenty of breaks during long trips. Be sure to stop often so that you can walk and stretch your legs. This helps prevent blood clots, which can be dangerous.

Keep the car's air bags turned on.

You can also travel by plane during pregnancy. But if you are planning to fly toward the end of your pregnancy, check with your doctor or midwife and the airline. Most airlines don't allow people to fly during their last month of pregnancy.

During long flights, be sure to shift your position while seated, and move your legs and feet often. You should also stand up and move around when it is safe to do so. This can prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.

If you are planning to travel to another country, let your doctor or midwife know. In some countries, infection is a concern. Ask your doctor or midwife whether you can safely go there. For example, many health care providers recommend that pregnant people not travel to places in the world where malaria or Zika virus is common. Visits to some countries might require specific vaccinations.

Physical activity — Doctors recommend that all adults get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on all or most days of the week. This includes people who are pregnant.

Moving your body has many benefits during pregnancy. It can help with your mood, energy level, and sleep. It can also help with pregnancy symptoms such as constipation, bloating, swelling, and back pain.

The type of exercise that is right for you depends on your current pregnancy, past pregnancies, and how active you were before you got pregnant.

In general, doctors usually recommend walking and swimming as good types of activity during pregnancy. During pregnancy, you should avoid activities in which you could easily fall or hurt your belly. These include hockey, soccer, basketball, horseback riding, downhill skiing, and gymnastics.

To exercise safely, you should:

Avoid lying flat on your back (after the first 3 months of pregnancy).

Start off slowly and slowly increase your level of activity.

Avoid exercising in hot or humid weather.

Drink plenty of water.

Wear a bra that supports your breasts.

Stop exercising if you get out of breath and can't talk easily.

You should stop exercising and let your doctor or midwife know if you have any of the following symptoms:

Bleeding from the vagina

Trouble breathing

Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

A headache or chest pain

Muscle weakness

Contractions

Fluid leaking from vagina

Leg swelling, pain, redness, or warmth

Not feeling your baby move as much as usual

Work — Whether or not you should stop working depends on your health, your baby's health, and what your work involves.

People who have no problems during pregnancy can usually work up until they go into labor. But it depends on your job.

Every employer has a Material Safety Data Sheet that contains information on the chemical properties and health effects of the substances used in the workplace. If you work with or near chemicals or other toxic substances, you should read this worksheet and discuss with your doctor.

Sex — You can keep having sex during a normal pregnancy.

More on this topic

Patient education: Preventing injuries during pregnancy (The Basics)
Patient education: Exercise and movement (The Basics)
Patient education: Staying healthy when you travel (The Basics)
Patient education: How to tell when labor starts (The Basics)
Patient education: Preterm labor (The Basics)
Patient education: Your baby's movement before birth (The Basics)

Patient education: Exercise (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: General travel advice (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Preterm labor (Beyond the Basics)

This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jun 02, 2024.
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