If you're enjoying a normal, healthy pregnancy, it's a good idea to carry on doing some exercise, providing that you're not undertaking a strenuous new regime. However, you should check with your doctor, that exercising won't pose a risk for your specific medical situation.
Cycling is a good activity to do while pregnant, but it isn't usually recommended after the second trimester of pregnancy (after 26 weeks) due to the risk of falls. However, you can use an exercise bike for as long as you like.
Avoid dangerous and strenuous activities
There are certain activities that aren't recommended for pregnant women. For example, you should avoid activities that involve high altitudes, such as mountaineering, or hot air ballooning, because the change in
oxygen levels may trigger premature labor.
You should also avoid activities where there is a risk of hard falls, or where you might be thrown off balance, such as horse riding, gymnastics, or water skiing. Strenuous activities, or those that involve a decrease in your oxygen levels, such as hiking, scuba diving, or alpine skiing, are also best avoided while pregnant.
Extreme sports, such as hang-gliding, skydiving, and bungee jumping should also be avoided because they may pose a health risk to you and your baby.
Fairground rides, such as roller coasters, can be dangerous if you're pregnant because the rapid stops and starts may cause damage to your womb (
uterus). Most rides at theme parks and funfairs have signs that advise pregnant women not to go on them.
Working and work hazards
If you work in an environment that exposes you to chemicals, radiation,
X-rays or lead you may be putting your baby at risk. The same is true if you have a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting.
If you have concerns you should discuss them with your doctor, occupational health nurse, union representative or Human Resources department.
If your work involves a known and recognized risk it may be illegal for you continue, and your employer must offer you suitable alternative work on terms and conditions that are not substantially less favourable than your original job. If no safe alternative is available, your employer should suspend you on full pay for as long as necessary to avoid any risk.
If you are working during pregnancy you may find that you get very tired during the first and last weeks of pregnancy. Try to use any break to rest, relax and eat.
If you are currently working a '9-5' schedule it may be a good idea to ask your employer to modify your hours so you do not have to travel during the rush hour, which can prove stressful and tiring for some women.
Some women are worried that exposure to VDUs (Visual Display Units on computers) may affect their baby. The latest research shows no evidence of any risk.
There are no reasons why you cannot continue to drive for most of your pregnancy. However, you should take rest breaks every 90 minutes as this will prevent your ankles or legs swelling and cramping.
When driving, you should always wear a seatbelt with the diagonal strap across your body between your breasts and the lap belt over your upper thighs. The straps should lie above and below your 'bump', not over it.
Airbags should be safe as long as you are wearing a seatbelt. Safety experts recommend that you should move your seat as far away from the steering wheel as possible as this will allow room for the airbag to inflate correctly.
You should make sure that you are prepared for a possible breakdown. Keep a supply of food, water, blankets, warm clothes and a flashlight in a car. Carry a mobile phone with you at all time if possible. If you are not already a member, you should consider joining a car breakdown recovery service.