Did you know that you that your exercise routine calls for a change and there are some workouts to avoid during pregnancy? Well, if you are a fitness enthusiast and thought you could keep working out you always did, this is for you. And if you are starting afresh, and exercising is not something that is regular with you, then you need to read this too.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your unborn baby’s well-being. Most doctors encourage prenatal exercises and it is indeed great to have a prenatal workout routine.
Having said this, pregnancy is also a very delicate time and it is always wise to consult your doctor especially if exercising is something that you are just starting. Even if you have been working out before conceiving, there are certainly some workouts to avoid during pregnancy.
It is important to take precautions and consult your doctor before performing any workout.
8 Workouts to Be Avoided When Pregnant
As you break the news of your pregnancy, the first thing that your elders advise you to do is, not to lift heavy weights or strain your body. So can you lift weights during pregnancy? Are there any tips to exercise safely during pregnancy? Well, it turns out, you need to tweak and change your workout routine to exercise safely during pregnancy.
Though exercising can have many benefits that help you during birth, there are many exercises that pregnant women must avoid.
If you were a fitness freak before you were pregnant, it is not advisable to continue the same workout routine as before. You will need to change and tweak your workout routine to accommodate this new phase of your life.
Pregnancy brings in many physical and emotional changes in a woman and every workout may or may not be able to accommodate these changes. Here are 8 exercises to be avoided when pregnant.
1. Avoid exercises that include laying on your back
After 16 weeks into pregnancy, it is advisable not to perform exercises that involve laying down on your back. My guess is it simply won’t be possible either. This is because the weight of your uterus and your baby could constrict major blood vessels and prevent blood from flowing to you and your baby. Compression of the uterus could also cause hypertension from the vena cava.
Such exercises could leave you feeling nauseous and short of breath. For this reason, women are also advised to sleep on their sides during pregnancy.
2. Avoid exercises that can strain your abdomen
High power exercises like jumping jacks, full sit ups during pregnancy, double leg lifts, etc. could pull on your abdomen. Such exercises could make you feel very uncomfortable and could cause muscle weakness. These are the workouts to avoid during pregnancy.
Many sports like skating, gymnastics, advanced yoga, etc. could put you at a higher risk of suffering from an abdominal injury too. Outdoor cycling, badminton or tennis could also pose a risk of falling and risking your precious pregnancy.
Planks during pregnancy too could strain the muscles of your abdomen more than needed. Avoid exercises that could cause abdominal trauma. Straining your abdomen should be strictly avoided when pregnancy, so even though you love them, there are the workouts to avoid during pregnancy.
3. Avoid exercises that involve higher altitudes
Exercises in altitudes above 2500 metres can be harmful for both the mother and baby. It is because high altitude areas supply a lesser amount of oxygen which is insufficient to meet the needs of both the mother and child. High altitude workouts need to be avoided while pregnancy.
If you are moving to a high-altitude region, take up to a week for your body to adjust to the environment before you perform any exercises. Your body will be more tuned in to high altitude oxygen levels if you are already living in one.
On the other hand, sports like scuba diving that involve altitude change could increase the risk of decompression sickness. Nitrogen gas bubbles could pass to the placenta which could be harmful for your baby. Consult your doctor if you feel any discomfort during high altitude exercises.
4. Avoid exercises involving jumping motions
If you are someone who gets nauseous easily, it is better to avoid exercises that involve any kind of bouncy or jerking motions. Bouncing motions can trigger your nausea and could leave you feeling dizzy for some time.
Another reason to avoid jumping motions is that during pregnancy, your joints get looser than usual. This puts you at a higher risk of injury. Avoid exercises like kickboxing and aerobic that involve high amounts of motion impact. Always trust your body and when it feels like you are having trouble to balance, discontinue the workout.
5. Avoid exercises to lose weight
It is natural for women to gain around 5-15 kgs during pregnancy. However, if you were under-weight during pregnancy, working out isn’t the best idea. You will need that weight to cater to the nutrition needs of your baby. Hence, weight loss exercises are one of the workouts to be avoided during pregnancy. Remember, you can always lose those calories after birth.
6. Avoid exercising in hot weather
Although yoga in general is a recommended exercise for pregnant women, hot yoga may have adverse effects on your uterus. Yoga performed in hot water or hot weather can raise your overall body temperature significantly. A high body temperature could deprive blood from flowing to your uterus. Make sure to exercise when the weather is cool and pleasant. Keep yourself hydrated to regulate your body temperature.
7. Workouts to avoid during pregnancy- contact sport exercises
Contact sports relate to activities that involve lots of running around and physical contact. Games such as basketball, cricket, martial arts, etc. are known as contact sports. Contact sports need a huge amount of vigour and energy which may strain your body to a great extent. Also, such sports put you at a higher risk of injury.
This is because, as your body is nearing labour, your body begins to loosen up your joints and pelvic region. This puts you at higher risk of injuries involving joints and ligament tears. while playing in a team, opt for games that are less strenuous.
8. Avoid weight lifting exercises
Women who haven’t engaged in weight training pre-pregnancy should not engage in weight training workouts. Lifting heavy weights could be hazardous for you and your baby, especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Heavy weight lifting exercises involve isometric muscle contractions that could highly impact your cardiovascular system. It could increase the risk of miscarriages as well.
During pregnancy, a significant increase in body weight could interfere with your balance and coordination. This happens because of the change in weight distribution in your body. Thus, activities that involve the centre of gravity, such as balancing are exercises to be avoided when pregnant.
When should you not exercise?
Though exercising regularly during pregnancy has its set of benefits, there are certain conditions in which women must steer clear from physical activity.
- When you have a history of miscarriages or at risk of having a miscarriage.
- When you are suffering from bleeding or spotting during pregnancy.
- When you have a weak cervix.
- When you have a low-lying placenta.
- When you are at risk of having a premature birth.
Tips For Exercising During Pregnancy
Physical activity is recommended by doctors during pregnancy. Engaging in physical activity helps in relieving back aches, swollen ankles, swollen feet, etc. However, some women may be advised against exercising regularly. If your doctor shows you the green flag to exercise during pregnancy, here are some tips that will help you work out during pregnancy.
- Plan out a routine: Exercise for at least 30 minutes for 5-6 days a week. If you feel tired and strenuous, you may skip that day’s exercise. Always listen to your body first.
- Take your doctor’s help: Plan an exercise regimen with your doctor or fitness trainer. Make sure that your fitness trainer is well-trained to cater to the workout needs of pregnant women. Having an exercise regime helps in customizing your workout routines according to your body’s needs.
- Avoid high intensity workouts: Always opt for workouts that range from low to moderate level.
- Never ignore the basics: All your exercises should begin with a warm up and end with a cool down session.
- Maintain hydration levels: Water is critical for your health, pregnancy makes water all the more indispensable. Make sure you are having atleast 2-3 litres of water and when exercising during pregnancy, take frequent water breaks. Dehydration can lead to lower than recommended levels of amniotic fluid.
- No holding breath: Any exercises that involve holding your breath is strictly off limits. Your baby’s oxygen supply could get disrupted which can lead to many complications.
- Avoid going on progression mode: While we are all thrilled when we progress in our exercise module, pregnancy isn’t really the time for that perfect split or new yoga asana. Pregnancy is the time to take things slow, and safe.
Many doctors recommend women to try out Yoga and Pilates during pregnancy. However, all exercises belonging to the Yoga and Pilates family are not designed for pregnant women. It is better to consult an expert before attempting any such exercise on your own. Make sure that your Yoga or Pilates instructor is properly trained to teach pregnant women.
When it comes to exercises to be avoided during pregnancy, make sure that you take factors such as the frequency, intensity and type of activity into consideration before engaging in a workout. Engage in activities such as light walking, swimming, cycling, etc. Make sure not to strain your body too much.