Cramping After Exercise During Pregnancy? Here’s When You Need To Worry

Profile view of unrecognizable pregnant woman wearing blue top and track bottoms using dumbbells while having fitness training, isolated on white background
By Abi Berwager Schreier | Originally Published March 7, 2018 on Romper | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross

If you’re pregnant, I’m sure you’ve heard from your doctor, your aunt, your cousin, and your nosy next door neighbor that exercising is important during pregnancy, and it’s recommended you get at least 30 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise every day. And this can be done just by going for a walk. I’ve been taking this advice to heart, but recently, after finishing a 30-minute walk at 6 months pregnant, I noticed some really bad cramping going on down there. I started to freak out, of course. But is cramping after exercise during pregnancy dangerous? Was I going into preterm labor? Am I hurting the baby?

Even in typical pregnancies, in the later trimesters, exercising may cause Braxton Hicks contractions, which mom will interpret as uterine cramping, says Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, an OB-GYN at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, in an interview with Romper. But why is this happening? Ruiz says, “Some perceived cramping may also be due to overtaxing muscles, which have been stretched due to pregnancy. This usually will resolve with rest.” He also says the cramping should stop within 30 minutes to an hour.

 

When is the cramping worthy of seeing a doctor? Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper “when it’s associated with vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain with urination, fever, fast heartbeat, and worsening pain,” you should contact your doctor. To get rid of those Braxton Hicks contractions and other cramping during pregnancy, Ross recommends resting and hydrating, which will help relax your uterine muscles.

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