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 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggest that women carrying multiples refrain from aerobic exercise because of high risks for potential problems. It is best to discuss your desire to stay physically active with your health care provider. If you were physically active before you were pregnant, you will most likely be encouraged to remain active for as long as your health care provider feels it is safe.
What exercises can I do?
Once you have received permission from your health care 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 they 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 exercises 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 be avoided as well.
What are the warning signs that I need to stop exercising?
- 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 health care provider about your exercise routine throughout your pregnancy.
When should I cut back on exercise?
As long as you are feeling healthy and not experiencing any complications, most women who have exercised regularly throughout pregnancy can continue to as long as they feel comfortable. Some 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. The best thing to do is to discuss your exercise options and desires with your prenatal care provider.