Nurturing life Your reference in perinatal nutrition, from pregnancy to childhood

What precautions should pregnant women take when exercising?

Published on :
By : Nurturing Life's Nutrition Team | Montreal Diet Dispensary

Pregnant women should avoid high intensity efforts, excessive fatigue, dehydration and some sports that may be considered dangerous. It is important that she listens to the signs her body sends (fatigue, shortness of breath, dehydration, etc.) and ensures her safety and that of her baby.

Pregnant women should avoid:

  • High intensity efforts. To do this, she must:
    • limit the duration (about 30 minutes) and intensity (see Borg scale p. 10 – French only) of cardiorespiratory workouts
    • be able to speak and feel only slightly short of breath during the activity
  • Excessive fatigue. To do this, she must:
    • listen to her body to make sure the intensity of the exercise will not lead to excessive fatigue
    • maintain efforts considered below the ‘difficult’ level
  • Excessive heat and dehydration.
    • Hydration during pregnancy is very important, it is necessary to drink 250-300 ml of liquid for every half hour of physical activity.
  • Dangerous sports: hiking or biking in steep paths, racquet sports (badminton, tennis, squash …), skiing, horse riding, scuba diving and activities that occur at high altitude (over 1,600 meters).

If the pregnant woman has health problems (heart disease, restrictive lung disease, extreme obesity, anemia, etc.) or pregnancy-related problems (previous episodes of early labor or low birth-weight baby, blood loss, placenta previa (a placenta that is too low in the uterus), etc.) it is advisable to see a doctor before doing any type of physical activity.


  • Institut de santé publique. 2011. Le portail d’information prénatale. Fiche : Activité physique et mieux-être.
  • Société des obstétriciens et des gynécologues du Canada. 2009. Healthy beginnings: Giving your baby the best start, from preconception to birth. 4e Edition. Pages 29-30; 47-50
  • SOGC/CSEP. (2003). Clinical Practice Guideline: Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum. Period. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 2003;28(3): 329-341.


The Public Health Agency of Canada has contributed financially to the production of Nurturing Life.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.