Does exercise cause miscarriage?

No. Exercise has not been shown to cause miscarriage. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is safer to exercise than not.

It is natural to worry about miscarriage, especially in the early days of pregnancy and if you have miscarried before. However, there is no evidence to suggest that exercise causes miscarriage.

In fact, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is safer to exercise than not. For example, women who stay active during pregnancy have a lower risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

“I wanted to wrap myself in cotton wool after my miscarriage and I found it difficult when other mums talked about all the sport they still did - in the first trimester I wanted to protect my baby as best as I could. But perhaps if I’d been encouraged to go for walks and swims that would have helped my anxiety levels?” Clio

If you are concerned about your baby being shaken around as you exercise, don’t worry – this isn’t the case. Your baby is secure inside your womb. However, if it helps with your anxiety levels, go for low impact exercises like walking and gentle swims.

The benefits of an active pregnancy

Exercising during pregnancy can:

Read more about the benefits of being active.

Pregnancy complications and exercise

If you have any medical concerns in pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife before you exercise. They can advise you on the levels of activity that are safe for you and your baby.

Becoming more active

You can exercise during your pregnancy even if you have not been active before. Good exercises for pregnancy include:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • pregnancy yoga
  • aquanatal classes

Find more pregnancy-friendly exercises.

Download and print your weekly exercise goal plan

Read more

Sources

  1. Juhl M, Andersen PK, Olsen J, Madsen M, Jørgensen T, Nøhr EA, Andersen AM (2008). ‘Physical exercise during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort’, American Journal of Epidemiology, 167 (7): 859–66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18303008
  2. RCOG (2006). Exercise in Pregnancy: Statement No. 4, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/statements/statement-no-4.pdf 
  3. Tinloy J, Chuang CH, Zhu J, Pauli J, Kraschnewski JL, Kjerulff KH (2014) ‘Exercise during pregnancy and risk of late preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalizations’, Women’s Health Issues, 24 (1): e99–e104: doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.11.003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439953 
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Last reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.

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