Exercising during pregnancy offers many health benefits. But before you head to the gym for your workout, make sure to stop by your doctor’s office to find out whether it’s alright for you to be exercising. Your doctor will probably give you the OK to move forward with your training, as most health practitioners do recommend you to be active during your pregnancies. You should aim for half an hour of exercise or some sort of activity at least five days a week. Thirty minutes of exercise may sound scary when you’re pregnant, but breaking your training down into smaller workouts throughout the day will still give you most of the same benefits. Many exercises are beneficial for pregnant women; however, there are some exercises that you should avoid.
Exercises to avoid when you’re pregnant
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing exercises during pregnancy is the risk of injury. Any exercise that puts you at the risk of injuring yourself must be avoided. Below is a list of exercises that you should avoid when pregnant.
It’s possible that you were regularly participating in contact sports before your pregnancy, but all that stops now. These sports can include football, basketball, volleyball, and horse riding and carry a high risk of injury.
Boot camps can include activities such as climbing ropes, battle ropes, lifting tires, and more. Such activities can be very intense even for young and healthy individuals. So as a pregnant woman, you should avoid joining any boot camps until after your pregnancy is over and you are cleared by your doctor.
Prenatal and pregnancy yoga is recommended and can be very beneficial to your health. But hot yoga must be avoided as the temperatures can reach 100 degrees or higher. Being exposed to these high temperatures can be harmful to yourself and your fetus.
Heavy weight lifting
You should avoid any exercises that put a lot of stress on your joints, ligaments, and also your back. Programmed classes or training sessions that involve heavy lifting and focus on maximising isometric muscle contractions put a lot of stress on your cardiovascular system and are not good for you and your baby.
Any workout that’s designed to elevate your heart rate and keep it that way for a period of time is considered unsafe for you and your baby. Going hard at the gym and setting PRs should be kept for after your pregnancy.
CrossFit is one of those sports that people usually partake in competitively. It has elements from powerlifting, plyometrics, HIIT, gymnastics, and other exercises. During pregnancy, explosive movements, high-intensity workouts, and lifting heavy weights are not recommended. If you were a CrossFit enthusiast before your pregnancy, now is time for a change in your exercise habits.
Jumping on a trampoline
I know it’s really fun to bounce on a trampoline, but it’s best to avoid it when you’re carrying a child. There is a high risk of falling down or on your stomach since your centre of gravity is off balance. You’re also likely to injure your ankles, knees, or wrists.
While some women find it empowering to run a marathon during their pregnancy, it is best to avoid running for such long distances. Long-distance running can increase your body’s core temperature, and you put yourself at risk of dehydration.
High altitude training and scuba diving
Training at high altitudes hinders the delivery of oxygen to your baby. Scuba diving has unnecessary pressure that puts your baby at risk, so avoid them until your pregnancy is over.
Workouts that are safe during pregnancy
It is recommended to stay active during your pregnancy as it helps improve the health of your mind and body. Unless you have a condition that prevents you from working out, so make sure to consult your doctor before you begin.
Walking and jogging
Low-intensity forms of exercise such as walking or jogging are some of the safest ways for pregnant women to exercise. Walking on a flat or even surface can result in a moderate increase in heart rate and improve your mood. If you are not used to taking walks, you can begin by taking a few ten-minute walks every week. Eventually, you will be able to build up to taking thirty-minute walks a few times a week. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear to accommodate your walks.
Swimming is a low-impact sport that is quite safe and doesn’t present a risk of falling. Water aerobic classes can also be fun, and you can begin by signing up for a few classes each week and go for more sessions as you get more comfortable.
You can use Kegel exercises (Also known as pelvic floor exercises) to strengthen the muscles that support your bowel, bladder, vagina, and uterus. To perform these exercises, squeeze the Kegel muscles and hold this contraction for five to ten seconds.
One of the big benefits of Pilates is improving core strength and stability, which can reduce the risk of falling. If you are new to Pilates, you can start by doing five to ten-minute sessions a few times per week and work towards longer sessions. It is still not a bad idea to consult your doctor before signing up for a Pilates class.
Low-intensity weight lifting
It is normally safe to do some light and low-intensity weight lifting in the first trimester of your pregnancy. Using free weights and weight machines can help improve your health, manage your weight and keep your core stronger. Also, remember to keep the weights in a safe position to avoid any risks to the fetus and consult your doctor to find out if there are any exercises you should stay away from.
As a pregnant woman, you don’t want to be involved in any sort of off-road cycling as there’s the risk of falling and injury. But spin classes and stationary bikes are relatively safe and can be a great alternative to outdoor cycling.