Exercises to avoid during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it’s best to avoid excessive bouncing, jumping, or high-impact activity. Unless you were training at a high level prior to pregnancy, heavy resistance training isn’t recommended because of the risk of injury. The hormone relaxin can cause your ligaments and joints to become increasingly loose during pregnancy. Although you may feel more flexible, it’s best to avoid overstretching. It can lead to injury. Your center of gravity also changes, as your belly gets bigger. Always perform movements slowly and in a controlled way, to avoid falling.
Stop exercising and check with your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Vaginal fluid leaking
- Uterine contractions
- Muscle cramps
Exercising helps you stay fit. It is good for your heart, body, and mind. But when you are pregnant, you do not know if you should continue to exercise or take a break until you deliver your baby. The fears are understandable because you do not want to take a risk by doing the wrong exercises.
Here are five exercises to avoid when pregnant:
Crunches or sit-ups: Sit-ups and crunches are fine during the first trimester of pregnancy. During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, you need to avoid lying on your back. As your uterus grows, the weight can compress the blood vessels leading to your heart. This can deprive your growing baby of oxygen.
Hot yoga: Hot yoga leads to overheating of the body, which is not good during pregnancy. Avoid exercising in hot and humid conditions as it overheats the body. However, you can try other yoga poses that are safe during pregnancy. Avoid working out with many layers of clothing, which can cause you to sweat excessively.
Heavy Weight lifting: The most common question that is on every pregnant lady’s mind is ‘what happens if we lift weight during pregnancy?’
- Injuries and Pain:Your muscles, joints, and ligaments are weaker during pregnancy. Hence, you may get hurt easily if you don’t take care. Your lower back has a higher chance of getting injured when lifting heavyweights.
- Falls:As your belly gets bigger, your center of gravity will shift making you more vulnerable to falls. When you bend forward to lift heavy weights, there are high chances of you losing balance and falling. Falling can be very dangerous especially during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Reduce the weights:Experts suggest that you must cut down on your weights by 25 percent. Dr Judith Reichman, in an article for NBC News online, suggests that if you were lifting 50 lbs before pregnancy, then during pregnancy you should bring it down to 37.5 lbs. That is how you will decide the safe weight to lift during gestation.
- Strength training is important for women’s health, but starting in the second trimester, we advise women to lift no more than 10 to 15 lbs. of anything, not just barbells but also toddlers and older children. This is mostly due to stability – with a growing baby bump, your balance will change, increasing your risk of falling and injuring your head or abdomen.
Contact or high impact sport: So many amazing workouts involve contact and high impact moves. These workouts are a great way to increase your cardiovascular endurance; however, during pregnancy, you want to avoid these types of exercises. You want to avoid the risk of blunt trauma to your baby bump and avoid forceful contact to the baby in your belly.
There is a big debate in regards to running so consult your doctor to get approval to run during pregnancy.
High Impact activities that should be avoided include:
- Jumping sports.
- High impact aerobics that involve a lot of jumping or a step aerobics class.
- Jumping Rope (or any workouts involving jumping).
- Trampolines and trampoline parks.
- Workouts involving skipping, bouncing, hopping or rapid motions/quick changes in directions.
Exercises Lying on your Belly: Exercises that take place lying on your belly should obviously be avoided during all three trimesters. Exercises that require you to lie flat on your belly include:
- Physio Ball prone rows or shoulder exercises
Scuba diving; The question of scuba diving while pregnant has a simple answer: both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Divers Alert Network (DAN) recommend no scuba diving for the duration of the pregnancy.
It is thought that the potential negative effects of scuba diving while pregnant mainly affect fetuses in the first and third trimester. In the first trimester, the effects of oxygen concentrated by pressure could trigger defects in the developing fetus, including reduced weight, abnormal skull development, malformed limbs and the abnormal development of the heart. And at any time, but particularly in the third trimester, decompression sickness in the mother could cause major problems for the fetus due to its inability to filter out nitrogen bubbles through the lungs, as an unborn baby’s blood bypasses the lungs and oxygenates via the placenta instead. Though there has been no human testing conducted to determine the effect of diving on the fetus; similar to avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, a mother needs to be mindful that what she does affects her baby. If a pregnant woman suffers from decompression sickness (DCI), there is no guarantee that it won’t harm the fetus as well.
Generally, the exercises to avoid during pregnancy are:
- Exercise that may cause any abdominal trauma, including activities that with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction.
- Activities where falling is more likely.
- Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing.
- Bouncing while stretching.
- Waist twisting movements while standing.
- Intense bursts of exercise followed by long periods of no activity.
- Exercise in hot, humid weather.
- Do not hold your breath for an extended period of time.
- Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion.