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Pregnant and Exercising? Here are 15 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

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Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

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Are you endlessly on the internet searching for exercises to avoid during pregnancy? If yes, you will most likely end up having conflicting results. Remember, the journey that you are part of or are planning to join can stand to have benefits if you know the best exercises during pregnancy and which one’s to avoid.

To help you with the best practices, we’ve listed the 15 best exercises that you should steer clear of while pregnant. It may be tough for you to decide which ones to avoid if you have been hitting the gym before you got pregnant. Let’s put the answer in simple words: avoid anything that involves stressing your joints, abs, and heart, and make sure to consult your doctor before you finalize any exercise. 

Scroll and find out which exercises affect these three body parts so you and your baby can stay healthy and safe.

15 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

1. Contact Sports

Contact sports include volleyball, basketball, soccer, football, and horse riding. You must also note that these also have a risk of injury. These might be unintentional recreational sports that you may be engaging in your backyard with friends and family. But beware, even a slight push or shove could cause great injury to your pregnant body.

2. Hot Yoga

Prenatal yoga is fine and recommended but do not go for hot yoga as too much heat on your pregnant belly could be exposing your fetus to the same. It may cause hyperthermia in your unborn baby and lead to premature birth and birth defects.

3. Boot Camps

Boot camps might seem like a fun activity but pregnancy is not when you start going to a boot camp. A typical day at these camps involves boxing, heavyweight lifting, and pushing tires, or ropes. It’s everything that’s a strict no when you are pregnant because of the risk you will be putting yourself and your baby in.

4. Bouncing on a Trampoline

You guessed it right: anything that involves sudden jerky movements is a no during pregnancy. Trampoline activities put you at risk of falling because your centre of gravity is unusual when you are pregnant. You could injure your wrists, knees, or ankles when you brace yourself while landing.

5. Lifting Heavy Weights

Lifting heavy weights can stress your ligaments and joints. The pregnancy hormones, relaxin, loosen the joints and ligaments of your body to facilitate childbirth which means no dynamic, ballistic heavy lifts. Pregnancy anyhow has its own share of back pain and these exercises will simply add on to it.

All your isometric muscles are involved in heavy weight training but they also put stress on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. Not a good idea when you are pregnant.

6. High Intensity

Do not engage in any exercises that raise your heart rate as that could be unsafe during pregnancy. These sessions could potentially harm yourself and your baby. Low-intensity level exercises are best during pregnancy.

7. CrossFit

CrossFit has often been termed a competitive fitness sport as it involves gymnastics, powerlifting, plyometrics, weight lifting, high-intensity interval training, and other exercises that must be avoided during pregnancy. If you were doing CrossFit before your pregnancy, it’s time you quit. Change your goals.

8. Climbing Stairs

Climbing stairs could be the easiest exercise you could do when you are not pregnant. But with pregnancy comes the risk of over-exertion, tripping, and falling. Your heart rate also increases to high levels while your leg muscles are put under enormous strain. So no more than a few stairs when you are pregnant.

9. Marathon Running

Well, even though some women run marathons when they are pregnant, it is an exercise to avoid during pregnancy. Here’s what running marathons could lead to

  • Overexertion
  • Increases your body core temperature
  • Puts you at risk of dehydration
  • Causes muscle strains

10. Exercises That Put Pressure on The Abdomen

Core strengthening exercises during pregnancy are different from what you would do when you are not pregnant. No more crunches or planks but say yes to pilates and yoga (not hot yoga!). Some abdominal exercises can be quite uncomfortable because of muscle weakness and abdominal separation (diastasis recti).

11. High Altitude Training

Normally, a human fetus grows under low-oxygen levels. Exercising at high altitudes will put them under even less oxygen and that is fatal (both for the mother and the baby).

12. Supine Exercise Position

Sleeping in the supine position is a risk factor for stillbirth. Avoid lying on your back too often because your gravid uterus compresses the inferior vena cava cutting off the blood supply. It could lead to maternal hypotension and the fetus will stop receiving the required blood.

13. Exercises Lying on Your Stomach

Obviously, lying on your stomach is also a bad idea. Attempt no sports or exercises that need you to do that. Wondering what positions to sleep in while being pregnant? Get yourself a pregnancy pillow and check out some safe sleeping positions here!

14. Standing Still for Long

Standing too long during pregnancy can lead to stressed joints and swollen feet. You do not want all your blood to poll in your lower extremities. It may make you faint and cause stress to your loosened joints.

15. Scuba Diving

The pressure involved while scuba diving can result in foetal decompression sickness and birth defects. So hold on to the adventure until you are well over your postpartum recovery

The Bottom Line: Exercising During Pregnancy

Maintaining a regular exercise routine by following all its pregnancy-safe guidelines is a must because it reduces fatigue and back aches. It even prevents gestational diabetes and stress all the while building the stamina for a smoother delivery. Swimming and walking are normally considered safe during pregnancy but if you are into hardcore training there are certain things you must not do like crunches, planks, heavy weight lifting, and anything that involves putting stress on your joints, abdomens, and blood flow.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy FAQs:

1. What exercises should you avoid during early pregnancy?

Exercising can be tricky when you are pregnant. Here are some exercises to avoid during early pregnancy:
  • Jumping
  • Bounding
  • Skipping
  • Hopping
  • Straight-leg toe touches
  • Double-leg raises
  • Full sit-ups
  • Anything with rapid changes or jarring motions, basically
  • 2. Which are some ab exercises to avoid during pregnancy?

    Putting pressure on your abs can be harmful to your body and your baby while pregnant. So here is a list of ab exercises to avoid during pregnancy:
  • Full sit-ups
  • Double leg lifts
  • Bending over backward
  • Contortions
  • 3. What are some exercises to be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy?

    Once you discover that you are pregnant you might start worrying about your weight gain, but it doesn't mean you start exercising right then and there because even then it is a crucial time for you and your baby. Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back face-up like crunches. They put too much pressure on the vein that carries blood to your heart (we mean the vena cava).

    4. Can you do squats while pregnant?

    Squats maintain the range of motion and strength in your pelvic floor muscles, core, glutes, and hips. So yes, it is a good idea to do squats while pregnant, but remember to maintain posture. They even assist you with your birthing process.

    5. Can you do planks while pregnant?

    Planks are endurance-based, static exercises that are ideal for pregnant women as it strengthens their back and abs. They also do not put any more pressure on the spine (well, negligible pressure) than exercises like crunches.



    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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