Exercise Safety during Pregnancy: 8 Workouts to Avoid

Exercise Safety during Pregnancy: 8 Workouts to Avoid

Finding out you are expecting is so exciting! You want to be in tip-top shape and as healthy as possible so your baby has the best start in life. Here, what you don’t do can be just as important as what you do to prepare to deliver your child into the world. Just as there are some things you should eat more of and some things you should not eat at all, so too there are some exercises that are great to do and some you would do well to avoid.

In this article, learn about the eight workouts you should postpone until after you have delivered your baby. For extra safety, be sure to wear elastic clothing that is stretchy for any workouts.

Workout 1Any workout that carries a risk of falling.
According to WebMD, any workout that carries a risk of falling is a no-no during pregnancy.

Examples of exercises with falling risks include skiing, roller skating or roller blading, horseback riding, balancing postures, lunges and deep knee bends.

Workout 2“Hot” sports or working out in hot weather.
Hot yoga is now a popular workout type. But while yoga itself can be very beneficial during your pregnancy, hot temperatures are definitely not.

This is because the heat, whether artificially induced indoors or found naturally out of doors, can raise your internal body temperature sufficiently to reduce blood flow to your developing baby.

Workout 3Workouts that place strain on your abdomen.
While you will thank yourself later for keeping your abdominal muscles fit and active, what you don’t want to do is place any extraordinary strain on your body in that area. This can cause your already taxed abdominal muscles to stretch or even tear.

Workouts to especially avoid due to risks in this area include backbends, inversions, extreme forward bends, full sit-ups and double-leg lifts, as well as most gymnastics and some yoga and pilates moves. If you do take yoga or pilates, always make sure the instructor is aware you are pregnant and can suggest alternate poses that are safe for your baby.

Workout 4Contact sports.
If there is one thing you want to avoid in full during your pregnancy, it is any workout, exercise or sport with even a hint of contact. You do not want to take the chance of any person or piece of sports gear coming into contact with your abdomen.

Of particular danger include soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, football, baseball, kickball, basketball, hockey, ice hockey, rugby, tennis….you get the idea.

Workout 5Any exercise that requires you to lie flat down on your back.
Your doctor may permit this during the first trimester, but after that time, any workout or exercise that requires you to lie flat down on your back should be strictly avoided. In fact, this is so important that it is one of BabyCenter’s 13 rules of safe pregnancy exercise.

The reason boils down to simple science: when you lay on your back starting in your second trimester, the weight of your growing baby can press down on a major vein in your circulatory system. This extra pressure can reduce the amount of blood that gets through to both your uterus and your brain. (If you are lying on your back and begin to feel dizzy, nauseous or out of breath, these are all symptoms that you are placing too much pressure on that vein and you should change positions immediately.)

Workout 6Any workout that requires you to hold your breath.
Water sports are the main area where you might find you need to hold your breath for some length of time. 

Examples of exercises where you might need to hold your breath include snorkeling, scuba diving and some swimming strokes.

Workout 7Workouts that put extra pressure on your joints.
Your joints and ligaments will naturally loosen up during the course of your pregnancy, which can make them more vulnerable to sprains, strains and tears.

Examples of joint-centric exercises to avoid include step aerobics, kick boxing, jumping rope, trampoline jumping and heavy free-weight lifting. If you’re a member of your local gym, try sticking to functional training, low impact cardio exercises and stretching.

Workout 8Balance-intensive exercises.
Finally, as your baby grows, you will develop a whole new appreciation for keeping your balance. So you don’t need to make this job any harder by choosing workouts that make balancing challenging.

Examples include mountain biking, still-yoga poses and one-leg exercises.