Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Workouts – Exercises to Avoid in Pregnancy

Although there are exercises to avoid during pregnancy, that are listed below, moderate exercising during pregnancy can improve your health and give you a safe delivery on your due date. Doing this is essential during pregnancy to prevent common discomforts usually experience by expecting mothers. It is especially beneficial if you are overweight or obese as you will be able to avoid adding more weight and give yourself and the baby better chances of safe delivery. 

What makes exercising during pregnancy more exciting is if you were active before pregnancy, it is expected that you will have the determination and endurance to keep going without feeling being forced. However, you are at liberty to choose from the list of exercises and foods available to you, which one you like most and do what you love.

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Benefits of exercises for pregnant women


Exercising during pregnancy can improve your health and give you a safe delivery on your due date. 

Other benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

  • Fight fatigue
  • Improve sleep
  • Lower odds of delivery complications
  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Speed post-delivery recovery
  • Boost your mood
  • Ease back and pelvic pain
  • Helps prevent type-2 diabetes
  • Helps manage weight during pregnancy 

Preparing for exercises in pregnancy

Before you start to exercise, it is crucial to find out the exercising best for you. When a woman is pregnant, rapid changes will follow; this is the reason you should find out if it’s safe to exercise. If it is safe to work out, you should do the following to prepare for the ultimate – exercising:

  • Get comfortable exercise clothes
  • Choose the type of safe exercise to do
  • Get the needed materials for the activity
  • Talk to your spouse and get help if necessary



While it is important to breathe in and out to calm yourself, exercises that require you to hold your breath are very dangerous. Holding your breath is similar to restricting the flow of air to your unborn child who depends on your respiratory system for life. Oxygen restrictions can cause complications for your baby.


Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

Skiing and horseback riding are generally good exercises, but they are problematic for expectant mothers. Such exercises during pregnancy increase your risk of falling. A fall can cause trauma to your abdomen which is consequently transferred to your baby. These shocks are not good for your baby and should be avoided at all costs. Admire the ice and the horses from a distance and wait till your baby is born to enjoy them together.


These are sports that have a lot of contacts as the word explains. The risks of falling, getting hit or getting injured are very high. Sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball are not advisable exercises during pregnancy.


An exercise does not have to cause severe trauma for you to avoid it. Even exercises that cause the slightest abdominal trauma should be avoided. For example, exercises that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction are a no-no.



Exercises such as skipping, hopping, bouncing or running are unsafe exercises during pregnancy. They involve rapid motions and sometimes you may lose balance and fall.


Essentially, the waist area supports your growing belly. Movements may cause discomfort for you and your baby. Furthermore, they may increase back pains, a situation you want to avoid.

  • Avoid exercises during pregnancy that involve deep knee bends such as lunges, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight -leg-toe touches. These exercises are uncomfortable for your abdomen.
  • Stretching should not be accompanied by bouncing. As mentioned earlier, you should avoid any rapid motions and bouncing creates such motions.
  • Heavy exercises spurts followed by long periods of inactivity are very risky. After periods of inactivity, your body becomes adamant to pick up where you left. It gets challenging to get back on your horse and you may experience joint and muscle pains.
  • Exercising in hot and humid weather

Even before you were pregnant, exercising in hot, humid weather was something you did not do. Exercising in hot conditions can lead to dehydration.

There are safe exercises during pregnancy. Don’t take a chance with your life and the life of your unborn child even if you love an unsafe exercise to death. Wait until after delivery.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy First Trimester

Exercise can be challenging during the first trimester because of the increased blood volume that is pumped out by the heart. This major change can cause symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, and the feeling of not being able to take a deep breath.

For women without pre-existing health conditions, moderate activity does not have heart rate limitations. This is especially true for women who were exercising prior to pregnancy. If you were highly active before getting pregnant and remain healthy, you can continue.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy Second/Third Trimester

In your second and third trimester, you’ll probably feel better than you did in your first trimester.

Try to be more consistent in your workout routine and refrain from lying flat on your back for long periods of time. This is because it can cause your blood pressure to drop. When your blood pressure falls from laying on your back during pregnancy, it’s called supine hypotension syndrome. 

In addition, lying flat on your back during pregnancy can worsen certain pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and shortness of breath. 

You will start seeing more of your baby bump and an increased appetite!

The hormone that allows your pelvis and rib cage to expand to fit your growing baby, also creates loose joints, as well as instability. The loose joints allow for more flexibility, but they also may harbor an environment for injury if you are not careful.

While falling in the first trimester is very unlikely to cause a miscarriage, later in pregnancy, a hard fall could cause a placental abruption, which is dangerous to your baby. This is why doctors recommend avoiding activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, and downhill skiing.

Exercise during pregnancy and risk of late preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and hospitalizations

The most common concern among pregnant women is that exercising can induce a miscarriage, preterm birth, or other hospitalizations. It is natural to worry about miscarriage, especially in the early days of pregnancy and if you have miscarried before. However, According to NIH, there is no evidence to suggest that exercise causes miscarriage.

In fact, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is safer to exercise than not. For example, women who stay active during pregnancy have a lower risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

Who should not exercise during pregnancy?

If you have a medical problem, such as uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, asthma, heart disease, severe anemia, exercise may not be advisable. Before starting exercise, you must consult your doctor.

Exercising during other medical conditions such as bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, a weak cervix, placenta previa, preeclampsia, preterm rupture, or placenta membranes – can also put you at risk during pregnancy. 

In these cases, always ask your doctor before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy. 

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Safe exercises for pregnant women

You should ask your doctor to recommend the right workout for you. Generally, unless your doctor advised you otherwise, you don’t need rigorous exercising, a few minutes not more than 30 minutes of light workout would be perfect. Anything that gets moving and active is enough, including dancing if you love to dance. Some of the exercises know to be ideal for pregnant women are listed below:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Exercise in water (aquarobics)
  • Cycling – stationary bicycle
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises, including pelvic floor exercises
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Pregnancy exercise classes
  • Doing house chores

Best Pregnancy Workouts on YouTube

Even if you hit the gym regularly before you got pregnant with your new baby, fitting in workouts when you’re already feeling totally exhausted is no easy feat. To make it easy and help you stay motivated to exercise while expecting, check out this Pop Sugar video playlist that we really love!

When to stop exercising during pregnancy

Although every pregnant woman needs to work out, it is not all women that are qualified to do it during pregnancy. After your doctor confirmed you could exercise, you need to observe how you feel as it progresses. It may be reasonable to feel light aches, tiredness and experience some discomfort when you think it’s unbearable; you need to tell your doctor.

If in the course of exercising you experience the following, your body may be warning you it’s time to stop exercising:

  • Baby isn’t moving as much as usual
  • Bad headache
  • Feel exhausted
  • Muscles feel weak
  • Pain around your tummy
  • Pain in your pelvis
  • Pain or swelling in the lower part of your leg
  • Tightening in your belly
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • You feel dizzy
  • You have any bleeding from your vagina
  • You have chest pain
  • Your heart beating is irregular (palpitations)
  • Your waters leaking

Stay Hydrated

Your body needs more fluids during pregnancy, so be sure to replace what you are losing in sweat. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.

Avoid Overheating

While exercise won’t cause body temperature to rise high enough to be of concern, you should avoid hot tubs and saunas, or saunas workouts, such as hot yoga which is a form of yoga as exercise performed under hot and humid conditions, resulting in considerable sweating.   







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