Exercises and Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an incredible experience, but it also comes with its challenges. One of the challenges is knowing what exercises to avoid to protect both the mother and the baby, especially if you were very active before becoming pregnant. It’s important to note that every pregnancy is different, and what works for one woman may not work for another. 

However, there are some general exercises and activities that pregnant women should avoid, according to the experts at TotalShape.com. In this article, we will discuss both the exercises and some day-to-day activities to steer clear of during pregnancy.

Exercises You Should Avoid

1. Contact Sports

Playing contact sports is one of the most dangerous activities for pregnant women, which is why it’s important to put activities like football and boxing on hold. To prevent injury, avoid participating in family games of football, soccer, and volleyball.

2. Exercise Classes 

There are some exercise classes you should completely stay away from such as hot yoga. These classes take place in very warm temperatures, hence the name, which can cause hyperthermia in pregnant women. So, it’s better to stick to prenatal yoga and pilates.

Many recommend pregnant women do yoga and pilates, and our experts completely agree. However, there are certain poses you should avoid such as long planks, crunches, or lying on your back if you’re in the late stages of your pregnancy. 

3. High-Intensity Workouts

While we know that many women love high-intensity workouts, programs like CrossFit and boot camps should be avoided during pregnancy. CrossFit involves very quick movements and high-intensity exercises that can cause injury, even for the fittest pregnant women. Boot camp-style workouts that involve pushing tires and lifting heavy weights can also be dangerous and, in the worst case, lead to miscarriage. To stay safe, stick to low-intensity exercises.

4. Jumping Activities

Though jumping on a trampoline can be a fun way to burn calories, pregnant women should keep their trampolines in their backyard sheds. 

Not only is there a risk of falling, but your center of gravity can be off balance during pregnancy, making injury more likely. Plus, as joints get looser during pregnancy, you can seriously injure yourself when landing. Other bouncing activities to avoid include aerobics and kickboxing.

5. Weightlifting

Weightlifting has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it’s best to put your body goals on hold during pregnancy. You can always go back to it postpartum if your schedule allows for it.

Heavy weights put a lot of stress on your joints and ligaments which become more sensitive during this time in a woman’s life. The hormone relaxin is produced by your placenta during pregnancy which causes joints to become looser. So, save yourself the back pain and go back to the gym once you’ve recovered from delivery.

6. Marathon Running

While it may seem like common sense, it’s important to note that running long distances is not advisable during pregnancy. The hormone relaxin affects your joints, reducing your core stability and potentially increasing the risk of injury. Furthermore, long-distance running can lead to dehydration which can result in serious complications. 

To avoid these risks, consider replacing your morning jog with a leisurely walk around your neighborhood or a prenatal exercise class.

7. Training in Different Altitudes

Changes in altitude can have significant impacts on the health of your fetus. For instance, if you engage in high-altitude activities like hiking, you could potentially reduce the amount of oxygen that your fetus receives. Conversely, if you descend to lower altitudes, during, for example, snorkeling or scuba diving, you may put your fetus at risk of developing birth defects or experiencing fetal decompression sickness. 

Fortunately, swimming is generally considered safe for pregnant women. So, if you’re looking to enjoy some time by the sea during your pregnancy, you can still do so without any undue risk.

Everyday Activities You Should Avoid

Up to this point, we have been exploring exercises that could potentially pose a risk to both pregnant women and their unborn children. However, it’s equally important to exercise caution during common, everyday movements. 

1. Stair Climbing 

During the later stages of pregnancy, it is advisable to be cautious when climbing stairs, as this activity can cause your heart rate to soar to dangerously high levels. Plus, as your stomach will be getting pretty large, there’s also a heightened risk of tripping and falling since you most likely won’t be able to see where you’re stepping.

2. Prolonged Standing 

It is also important to avoid standing for prolonged periods of time, as this can cause blood to pool in your lower extremities and lead to fainting. Plus, standing can place a significant amount of stress on your joints.

3. Lying On Your Back

Lastly, if you need to lie down, it is recommended that you do so on your left side. Lying on your back may reduce the blood flow to your fetus which can result in very serious complications. Moreover, you risk maternal hypotension, which occurs when the compression of a vein called the inferior vena cava causes low blood pressure. This condition may lead to lower birth weight in babies and other postpartum complications.

Exercising during pregnancy can have many benefits, but it’s important to stay safe and avoid activities that could potentially harm both the mother and the baby. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before starting or continuing any exercise routine during pregnancy. By being cautious and avoiding risky exercises, pregnant women can stay healthy and fit throughout their pregnancy and prepare for a safe delivery.

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Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.