It’s important for all expectant mothers to take care of themselves throughout their pregnancy — this includes drinking lots of water, eating healthy food, getting as much sleep as possible (while you still can), and even working out on a fairly regular basis. However, as you can probably imagine, not all exercises are safe to do while pregnant. In fact, there are several activities you’ll want to avoid during your pregnancy completely in order to keep both yourself and your baby safe from harm throughout all three trimesters.
Don’t let this news get you down. Depending upon your normal fitness routine prior to your pregnancy, it’s possible that not a whole lot has to change. Keep in mind, though, that you aren’t going to want to push yourself too hard regardless of the activity. After all, your body is already being pretty productive given that it’s, you know, literally growing a full-fledged human being in there. So the important thing to remember is to pace yourself, take it slow, and listen to your body.
Should I exercise while pregnant?
Absolutely! Exercise is a great way to help your body adjust to all the changes it needs to go through over the next 9 months. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant people incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity into their weekly fitness regime. This could be in the form of fun group activities like prenatal yoga classes or simply power walking, swimming, or even riding on a stationary bike.
So, where do you draw the line when it comes to exercising, and at what point could physical activity be considered potentially dangerous? There are definitely a few workout options you’ll want to steer clear of until your baby comes out into the world. This brings us to exercises to avoid.
Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant
You are carrying some very precious cargo inside of your body, which means you aren’t going to want to participate in anything that could potentially cause your little one any harm. Therefore, any activity that could possibly lead to you getting injured should be avoided at all costs. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ice hockey
Activities With a High Risk of Falling
- Downhill skiing
- Horseback riding
- Outdoor biking
Anything Involving High Altitudes (Above 6,000 feet) or Taking Place Below Sea Level
- Scuba diving
Activities That Will Strain Your Abdominal Muscles
- Full sit-ups
- Double leg lifts
Activities That Could Cause Dehydration
- Hot Yoga
- Hot Pilates
Obviously, there are a lot more things that could be added to this list, but at the very least let it serve as a helpful guideline of what to avoid over these next several months — and potentially beyond, depending on how your postpartum recovery goes and whether or not you have a vaginal or cesarean delivery (though that’s another fun story altogether). I know it can be tough to give up some of the things you love, even if it’s only temporary. But just keep reminding yourself that at the end of this journey, you’ll come to love your little bundle of joy more than words can say and realize that it was all well worth the sacrifice.
And, of course, if you have any specific questions or concerns, never be afraid to talk to your obstetrician. Because even though your workout routine may look a little different these days, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun as you navigate life with your beautiful and growing belly.
*If you feel chest pain, dizziness, headaches, or difficulty breathing at any point during an exercise, take a beat, and if things worsen, call 911.
Household Activities Pregnant People Should Avoid
- Do not lift or move furniture.
- Do not climb up on footstools or chairs to grab items that are out of reach. This can result in a serious fall.
- Be mindful of how long you’re on your feet and remember to take a seat occasionally. In the kitchen, it’s easy to forget you’ve been standing for hours, especially when cooking a big meal or washing dishes.
More Activities That Should Be Avoided While Pregnant
- Do not change the litter box. It puts you at risk of catching toxoplasmosis, which can harm a developing fetus and even cause blindness or brain damage.
- Avoid skiing, ice-skating, and rock climbing. (Basically, anything that puts you at risk of falling.)
- Stay away from basic meds like ibuprofen, cold medicines, acne medications, and herbal remedies. Medication other than prenatal vitamins should be run by your doctor first.
- Although water exercises put less stress on the body, avoid rigorous aquatic activities like swimming in the ocean with aggressive waves or jumping off a diving board.
- After the first trimester, stay away from workouts that require you to lie on your back. This will keep pressure off the uterus and from restricting blood flow to the baby.
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