Safely Exercising in Warm Weather While Pregnant

 Emma Kalman
  Jul 26, 2018

Current recommendations for pregnant women suggest they should avoid raising their core body temperature above 39oC and that exercising while it is hot, taking hot baths or saunas could potentially harm their unborn child. Now, more recent research seems to contradict this advice, so it could be possible for pregnant women to safely do these things without causing harm to themselves or to their unborn child.

Currently, the guidelines do not include clear definitions about heat and its effect during pregnancy. The concern is that a lack of clear information could be discouraging some pregnant women from exercising, even though this could be beneficial for mother and child. Apparently, it has also been suggested that during pregnancy, the body is more able to regulate its inner or core temperature.

This potential ability was investigated by researchers during this recent study. During this research, results of previous studies were assessed. These studies measured women’s response to increased heat while exercising, enjoying a hot bath or while taking a sauna. The recommended core temperature limit of 39oC was never exceeded.

After studying the data, researchers concluded that pregnant women can exercise safely at a high intensity for up to thirty-five minutes, in temperatures as high as 25oC. Pregnant women should also be safe to exercise in warm water, for example during aqua aerobics, at temperatures of up to 33.4oC. Hot baths of up to 40oC or saunas of up to 70oC can be safely enjoyed for up to twenty minutes. None of these activities would result in a core temperature more than 39oC.

The idea that core temperature regulation is enhanced during pregnancy is backed up with some studies showing that the core temperature reduces as pregnancy progresses. It is thought this reduction could be due to increases in surface area and in body mass.

Always Ask Your Doctor for Advice on Exercising

Despite these findings, caution is still necessary if you do wish to exercise or take saunas or hot baths while pregnant. Your obstetrician or doctor can discuss suitable exercises that you can safely do during pregnancy. Maintaining a regular exercise routine during pregnancy can help you to stay healthy and it could help to reduce common problems such as backache or fatigue.

Exercise can also be helpful for reducing stress, may help to prevent gestational diabetes and can increase stamina so you have more energy for labor. If you exercised regularly before your pregnancy, then you can normally continue quite safely, although you might need to moderate the intensity of your exercise. Ideally, your heartbeat shouldn’t exceed 140 beats per minutes.

Taking Up Exercise During Pregnancy

Even if you have never exercised before, it should still be safe to begin an exercise routine during pregnancy, but it is best to choose a gentle activity. Generally, swimming and walking are safe, and it is a good idea to aim for at least half an hour of moderate exercise each day unless you have medical complications.

When Isn’t It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

If you have medical problems such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes, your obstetrician might advise you not to exercise. They may also suggest limiting physical activity if you have had any bleeding or spotting or if you have hypertension because of your pregnancy. Some women who have poor health, or who are underweight or overweight may need to be cautious when exercising which is why it is so important to get proper professional advice from a health care provider who has carefully evaluated your medical history.

Which Types of Exercises are Best Avoided During Pregnancy?

Avoid activities where there is a risk of falling, such as horse riding or skiing. Exercises that involve jumping up and down or bouncing, or where you would need to lie on your back or on your right side are not advisable.

Ideally, during pregnancy, your exercise routine should help to condition and strengthen your muscles and will include at least fifteen minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity. Ensure you wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement and that you have the right footwear. Drink plenty of water before and during your workout and avoid eating an hour beforehand. Stop exercising if you feel at all unwell, faint or dizzy, or if you feel nauseous. Check with your doctor before you resume your exercise routine.

Safely Exercising in Warm Weather While Pregnant

Emma Kalman

Emma is a passionate writer with a love for health, research, and writing. Therefore, she strives to provide people with educational information for a healthier life.

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