Doing exercises during pregnancy is encouraged by doctors as it makes both mother and fetus feel well. Normally, the amount of physical engagement is determined by the previous fitness experience of women, such as type of activity, frequency and intensity. And while exercises are said to be beneficial and safe for pregnant women, there are certain activities that should be strictly avoided as they may harm women or the fetus.
Changes that occur During Pregnancy
Before we discuss what exercises are not recommended to you, first we need to talk about the changes that occur during pregnancy.
As we all know, women tend to gain significant weight during the 9-month period. This can make some sports difficult to practice and even uncomfortable. Among these activities are running and jogging. Gain weight can also cause you trouble with coordination and balance, which makes these sports a bit dangerous.
There are some changes with heart rate as well. Basically, it increases, which means that pregnant women should not over exert themselves.
In addition, there seems to be a decrease in blood pressure. The latter can make women dizzy and light-headed, which is why they should keep in mind that balance exercises could be difficult and inappropriate.
As for the joints and ligaments – they start to loosen up. In other words, one should be careful not to injure themselves.
What Exercises you Should avoid During Pregnancy
If your pregnancy is low risk, meaning you are not constrained by medical complications, you are recommended to practice moderate intensity activities 30 minutes a day (usually four times a week). However, you ought to be aware of certain exercises that may cause injury or other complications. These involve:
- Exercises that include lying on your back
In order to prevent blood flow to the fetus from getting affected, you should avoid such activities after the first trimester.
- Exercises that include lying on your stomach
We believe there is no need for explanation here
- Holding your breath while weight training or doing yoga
- Too much weight training
It may be too stressful for the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system
- Standing still for too long
- Scuba diving
There is too much pressure here, which may lead to fetal decompression sickness and birth defects
- Balance activities
As we already pointed out, due to gain weight it may be difficult and even dangerous for pregnant women to practice sports that involve balancing.
- Ice hockey, basketball, soccer and any other high-impact and contact sports
- Activities which raise the risk of accidents and falls
For example, horseback riding, gymnastics and water skiing.
- Certain types of exercises that involve abdominal strengthening
During pregnancy muscle weakness occurs due to the growing uterus. This may cause discomfort when practicing exercises that involve abdominal strengthening.
- And last but not least, any activities at altitude
This may result in altitude sickness which may lead to reduced oxygen supply to the body and fetus. For this reason, it is recommended that you avoid exercising at altitudes above 2,500 m. If you still decide to practice at such an altitude, you should consult your doctor what types of activities you can do, as well as the frequency and time you are allowed to exercise.
It may be a good idea to have somebody to guide you through the process. Do not underestimate the situation! It can be very risky. If you experience light-headedness, chest pain, shortness of breath or weakness, you have to immediately stop exercising and look for medical aid!