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Injury Prevention in Pregnancy - Part 1

Learn How to Stay Safe
-- By Sara Hambidge, Physical Therapist

The world today is filled with so many exercise possibilities: running, biking, weight lifting, yoga, and pilates to name a few. Gyms offer all types of aerobics classes and personal training options to cater to today's fitness enthusiasts, and the options do not stop for pregnant women. They just expand into specialized classes and videos for the expectant mother.

With the growing knowledge that exercise is recommended for pregnant women, we can only hope the trend of positive effects continues to pour in. Recent studies suggest strength and conditioning gains during pregnancy may actually prevent the typical aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Unfortunately, during pregnancy, changes that your body undergoes can place you at a higher risk for possible injury.

Injuries can happen to anyone regardless of what shape they are in; but many are preventable through proper instruction and form. In this article, we will discuss the typical injuries that can occur during pregnancy, and why they occur. Part II will explain ways to prevent them through exercise.

You may be thinking, "I did not exercise before I got pregnant, so why should I now?" If preventing injury is not enough of a reason to exercise, check out a few of the many potential benefits to you and your baby:

  • Better posture and overall appearance
  • Fewer discomforts of pregnancy (back pain, foot pain, leg cramps)
  • Decreased morning sickness, labor time, and less weight gain
  • Increased strength of the muscles needed for delivery
  • Improved muscle tone and fitness, which will carry over postpartum
  • Better sleep

These are only a few examples, so hopefully they're motivating enough to get you up and moving!

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Member Comments About this Article
"Before I got pregnant I used to work out for hours everyday, then as soon as I found out I was pregnant I had morning sickness up till my 13 week. I still walked everyday I felt up to it and now in my 16th week I walk atleast z20 minutes a day I don't go to the gym and go on the stair climber, treadmill or elliptical. Hopefully doing this my labor will be easier and it'll be easier to go back to my normal 110 lbs after pregnancy:)" -- KERRYLEE818
"Before I was pregnant, my heartrate sped up really rapidly... now that I'm pregnant I can barely jog across an intersection without it spiking into the danger zone. So I'm constrained to gentle walks, with frequent stops if I'm going up hills. Unfortunately I live at the top of a pretty decent hill, and because it's winter in the PNW it's hard to get out and walk with the rain, ice, snow and the fact that it's dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home. I used to jog with my WiiFit on e..." -- PEARLKITTY
"As much as I tried to carry on excercising I just couldn't. From very early on - even at the time when I didn't know I was pregnant yet I started to have severe tummy aches, cramping & light bleeding whenever I excercised and I used to excercise a lot aiming at doing a marathone this summer. As soon as I knew I was prego I quit the gym& running altogether, as I was scarred of miscarriage, to make things worst I was then suspected of placenta previa, so that freaked me out even more. Of course a..." -- AGATA2009
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About The Author
Sara Hambidge
Sara, a graduate of Saint Louis University's Physical Therapy Program, practices at a sports medicine clinic in Cincinnati. A certified prenatal and postpartum exercise instructor, Sara is also a proud mother of one.
Sara Hambidge


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