Safe Exercise during a Multiple Pregnancy

You have been told that you are expecting multiples and that you will need to gain more weight, eat more calories, and possibly expect greater pregnancy symptoms. So, how does this affect your exercise routine?

It means that you need to be educated on what is best for both you and your babies.

Is exercise safe?

The answer to this question can be extremely confusing. The recommendation for a single pregnancy is 30 or more minutes of moderate exercise a day. However, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggest that women carrying multiples refrain from aerobic exercises because of high risks for potential problems. It is best to discuss your desire to stay physically active with your healthcare provider. If you were physically active before you were pregnant, you will most likely be encouraged to remain active for as long as your healthcare provider feels it is safe.

What exercise can I do?

Once you have received permission from your healthcare provider you may begin an exercise routine. If you walked daily before your pregnancy there is a good chance that you will be able to continue this for the first half of your pregnancy. Non-weight bearing exercises are often encouraged because there are tolerated better. Other exercises that are considered safe include the stationary bike, arm exercises, and swimming. Many women find the buoyancy of the swimming pool comforting and enjoyable. Pregnancy yoga and Kegel exercises are also recommended.

What exercise should I avoid?

You should refrain from doing any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. Weight training and resistance exercises should also be avoided. You should also refrain from doing any type of exercise if you are running a fever or if it is hot and humid outside. Hot tubs and saunas should also be avoided.

What are the warning signs that I need to stop exercising?

Warning signs may include:

  • Feel like you are having contractions
  • Feel pelvic pressure
  • Experience vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Feel lightheaded
  • Swelling, especially in your feet

Make sure that you are communicating with your healthcare provider about your exercise routine throughout your pregnancy.

When should I cut back on exercise?

Most healthcare providers encourage women to cut back on exercise at 20 weeks (singleton pregnancies cut back at 28 weeks). Obviously if you are experiencing complications that require partial or total bed rest, this would occur even sooner.

Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association