Studies have shown that women who have done high-intensity exercises before pregnancy are conditioned to handle the same exercises during pregnancy. However, it is not recommended that they do this.
While exercising during pregnancy does have many benefits – including better sleep, more strength and endurance and a lighter mood – knowing the difference between beneficial and potentially dangerous exercises can help keep you and your baby safe.
Ask your doctor or midwife what the best exercises would be for you, as each person and pregnancy is different. You might need to take a few precautions that are specific to you.
Here are some exercises you should definitely avoid, no matter what your pre-conceiving physical conditioning is.
No-go exercises when pregnant
Don’t worry about losing weight while you’re expecting. Rather opt for the high-intensity training after you give birth. While maintaining the appropriate pregnancy weight is fine, losing too much weight can be VERY dangerous for your baby.
Soccer, basketball, rugby and ice hockey come with a high risk of getting knocked in the stomach. Avoiding these sports is CRUCIAL for your baby’s survival, as too-hard-a-knock to the stomach can cause miscarriage.
Activities that require a lot of balance – like skiing, horseback riding and even riding a bike outdoors – can be difficult when you’re not used to balancing a pregnant belly. Your body is fragile during pregnancy and any fall can potentially break you and your baby.
Pushing the point of exhaustion
Pushing your limits may boost athletic performance, but when you’re pregnant, it can reduce blood flow to your uterus. You should be able to still talk without running out of breath during exercise. If you can’t, you’re pushing too hard. Both you and your baby need a constant flow of oxygen.
Lying flat on your back for too long
Exercises that involve lying flat on your back for long periods of time are not a good idea after the fourth month of your pregnancy. The weight of your growing uterus could compress major blood vessels and restrict circulation to you and your baby.
Advanced abdominal moves
Avoid sit-ups or double leg lifts. These exercises can pull on the abdomen, so they’re best avoided.
As your pregnancy progresses, your joints tend to loosen up. Back bends or other contortions, as well as movements that involve deep flexion or extension of joints, can increase your risk of injury.
Exercising at high altitudes (over 2,500 meters) can reduce the oxygen supply to you and your baby. If you have moved or are on holiday somewhere that is over 2,500 meters, wait at least four to five days for your body to adjust before you do any exercise. Also avoid scuba diving, as nitrogen gas bubbles can pass across the placenta and your unborn baby has no protection against decompression sickness.
Exercising while you’re pregnant is very beneficial for you as well as your baby. All pregnant women should be taking part in some exercise however, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to prescribing the optimal amount of exercise that expectant moms need to do. At the end of the day, you need to speak to your doctor who will advise you about how much you can be exercising.
Are you interested in helping pregnant women with their exercise routines? This is a special skill and needs proper training to accomplish. Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Exercise and Pregnancy Course is the perfect vehicle to help you achieve this goal! For more information about this and our other online fitness courses, please visit our website.