Clients often ask me when they are exercising during pregnancy what the concrete indicators are that they would be well-suited to stop.

Usually, I recommend that each client check in with their midwife or OB to discuss this but I’ve wanted a comprehensive resource to give my clients and followers on this topic. Despite the flaws in the rest of the report, the recently-released 2019 Canadian guidelines for pregnancy exercise has a great list on when to stop exercise to share here.

Reasons to stop physical activity and consult a healthcare provider

- Persistent excessive shortness of breath that does not resolve on rest.
- Severe chest pain.
- Regular and painful uterine contractions.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Persistent loss of fluid from the vagina indicating rupture of the membranes.
- Persistent dizziness or faintness that does not resolve on rest.
— https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/21/1339

This list will still leave pregnant athletes puzzling at the difference between pre-term labor and Braxton Hicks (which, for the record, are not caused or alleviated by exercise). Though this list is useful and is a clear indicator of when to stop, my coaching equips my clients with the self-knowledge and personal monitoring tools so that their bodies are not in so much distress that they experience heart palpitations or membrane rupture before they know to curtail their workouts. Building tools of mindfulness benefits the athlete and their baby.

Brittany Raven