8 Exercises You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Exercises You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

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If you are an avid exerciser, pregnancy might feel like a huge roadblock. But there is no reason you should give up something you love so much!

The fact is, you SHOULD exercise during pregnancy. Working out can do wonders for your expanding body. Yes, staying active is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Even if you are a novice to the exercise world, pregnancy is a good time to take the plunge.

But are all exercises equally good? What exercises are not safe during pregnancy? If these questions are keeping you from working out, fret no more! This article will answer all the questions zipping through your mind!

Benefits Of Exercising During Pregnancy:

Why should you work out while pregnant? Well, there are scores of reason for it! Some of the major benefits of chalking out a pregnancy workout plan includes:

1. Keeps Pregnancy Discomfort Away:

Pregnancy is the time when your body feels heavy and uncomfortable. It also brings a horde of uncomfortable symptoms to the fore. Working out can keep problems like backache, constipation and fatigue away.

2. Keeps Weight Under Check:

You need to gain weight during pregnancy. But if you are already overweight, you may want to keep a tab on your weight gain. Working out can help you manage your pregnancy weight better.

[ Read: Is It Safe To Lift Weights During Pregnancy ]

3. Helps You Sleep Better: 

Sleep is one of the biggest victim during pregnancy. If you work out, you can ensure better sleep at night.

4. Boosts Your Confidence:

The changes happening in your body can take a toll on your confidence level. Exercising can give your self-esteem a helping hand.

5. Makes Labor Easy: 

Working out can make the whole birthing process easier.

6. Prevents Gestational Diabetes (GD):

If you are worried about developing gestational diabetes, start working out! Exercising during pregnancy can keep blood sugar levels in check and can prevent GD (1).

7. Helps Develop Fetal Brain:

Working out during pregnancy not just helps you but also helps your unborn baby! Exercising is shown to improve brain development in the growing fetus (2).

8. Helps You Get Back In Shape:

One of the biggest struggles after giving birth, apart from sleep deprivation, is losing the pregnancy weight. Working out during pregnancy will make losing weight that much easier.

9. Reduces Risk Of Pregnancy Induced High Blood Pressure:

Some experts also believe that exercise could help reduce the risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and keep your body in shape to prepare it for labor and delivery (3)

These were just few of the reasons why you should work out while pregnant. But before you do, consult your doctor. Once he gives you the green signal, find a good instructor and start moving your body! But wait! Your body is now different. Not all your pre-pregnancy favorite exercises are suitable for your changing body.

[ Read: Kegel Exercise During Pregnancy ]

8 Exercises To Avoid During Pregnancy:

There are some exercises that just don’t work with your pregnant body. Here’s a list of what exercises to avoid when pregnant:

1. Sit Ups Or Crunches:

Before pregnancy, these two amazing exercises must have found a place in your workout regimen. But it is time to take a break from them! Your body is just not the same now. Sit-ups or crunches are not good choices when your abdominal muscles are already so stretched!

2. High Intensity Interval Workouts:

High-intensity interval workouts are not for everyone, no matter how good they are for your body. When you are pregnant, these workouts can prove to be extremely dangerous. These workouts can put pressure on your heart, which can prove to be risky. This is because your heart is already working hard to pump 30% more blood for your changing body. Here’s a simple test to check if your heart is beating too fast – if you can carry out a conversation while exercising, your heart is doing okay (4)!

3. Over-head Shoulder Press:

Here’s another pre-pregnancy favorite you’ll have to give up! As your belly expands, it puts extra stress on your lower back. Doing over-head shoulder press during this time is not a good idea as it can put excessive strain on your back.

4. Lying Flat On Your Back:

Lying on your back, for any reason, is not a good idea during pregnancy. This is especially true after the first trimester. Lying on your back can lead to a condition called Supine Hypertensive Syndrome (5). This syndrome can cause symptoms like dizziness and low blood pressure. So avoid exercises that require you to be supine.

5. Contact Or High Impact Sport:

Sports of any kind that can lead to injury to the abdomen are not a good idea during pregnancy. If you played high impact sports before pregnancy, give it up, especially during the final weeks of your pregnancy. Abdominal trauma can even cause miscarriage or harm your baby (6).

6. Hot Yoga:

High temperature and pregnancy don’t work well together. Women, who experience high temperatures during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy, have a higher risk of miscarriage. High temperature during pregnancy also raises the chances of your baby developing neural tube defects (7). Hot yoga can cause you to overheat, and so should be avoided. If you want to try yoga, there are numerous poses you can practice that are perfect for your pregnant body. Avoid any yoga exercises that involve holding your breath during difficult positions

[ Read: Pranayama During Pregnancy ]

7. Deep Squats or Deep Sumo Deadlifts:

The body releases a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. The primary function of this hormone is to prepare your body for childbirth. But combined with exercises like deep squats and dead sumo deadlifts, relaxin can lead to injuries and issues like backache (8).

8. Weight Lifting: 

Lifting weights is not a complete no-no during pregnancy, unless you have a complication. But it is important to discuss how much weight you can lift with your doctor before you start pumping iron (9)! Heavy weight lifting exercises can cause cardiovascular and musculoskeletal stress.

Other Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy:

  • Avoid activities like scuba diving, as they can increase the risk of birth defects in your unborn child.
  • Avoid all sports and physical activities that sap your energy, while increasing the risk of falls, including horseback riding, gymnastics, and water skiing (10).

When To Stop:

Apart from the exercises mentioned above, you can go ahead and work out to your heart’s content. But make sure you have a good trainer to guide you. And if you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and rest:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Premature contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Lack of fetal movement

If these symptoms persist even after you have rested, talk to your doctor.

Additional Tips To Exercise While Pregnant:

If you haven’t been active prior to your pregnancy stage, it is best to seek a medical opinion before starting to exercise. Following these additional simple tips could help you follow a safe and healthy exercise routine during pregnancy.

  1. If you are a diabetic or are prone to heart disease or asthma, seek medical advice before you begin any exercise routine during pregnancy.
  1. Women affected by pregnancy related conditions such as a weakened cervix, history of premature birth, low placenta, bleeding and spotting, etc. should also speak to their doctor and understand the best exercises for them.
  1. Avoid pressurizing yourself and stick to light physical activities throughout the day, instead of a single 30 minute intense session (11).

Have a professional guide you through your routine. It is one of the most effective ways to make sure you get enough exercise when you are pregnant.

Giving up your favorite exercise or sports may not be what you want to do, but your baby comes first! It’s just for a few months, after all. Once your baby comes home, and your body is ready, you can go back to your old workout regimen. Till them, play safe!

We hope this post encouraged you to exercise during pregnancy, and helped you understand what exercises to avoid. Tell us about your experience of exercising during pregnancy here. Leave a comment below.

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