Pregnancy is a remarkable period for your body to transform. Maintaining an exercise plan will aid you and your baby's general health and fitness. While you can continue with many fitness activities when pregnant, there are many exercises to avoid during early pregnancy. Our experts will take you through various exercises to avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy in this article. 

Introduction 

Prenatal exercise has several health advantages, including improved sleep, increased strength and endurance, and a happier mood. However, before you put on your shoes, keep in mind that there are some exercises not to do during pregnancy. Knowing the difference can help you and your kid stay safe. Most doctors allow and encourage expecting mothers to continue working out for as long as possible.

Consult your doctor about your dangers and concerns before beginning any workout regimen. Then, even if your doctor has given you the green light to exercise, be sure you know which exercises to avoid during early pregnancy.

With your doctor's permission and a few extra safeguards, you may gain the advantages of exercise during pregnancy, regardless of your previous workout habits. Here are 14 exercises to avoid during early pregnancy and some recommendations on exercising correctly.

Which Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

1. Sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball

It is always advisable not to get involved in sports that involve too much physical activity as a pregnant lady. Contact sports are one of the exercises to avoid during early pregnancy as they exhaust your body and make you tired. 

2. Yoga in hot conditions

It is advised for pregnant ladies to avoid hot yoga as the room temperature can easily exceed 100 degrees. Such high temperatures induce hyperthermia that leads to abnormalities and early labour.

3. High-intensity workouts 

High-intensity workouts include ropes, pushing tyres, lifting heavy weights or boxes, etc., which can be dangerous during pregnancy as it can lead to labour problems and miscarriages. Hight intensity workout is the exercise not to do during pregnancy as it can keep your heart rate elevated for a long which is unsafe during pregnancy.

4. Trampoline

Pregnant ladies are advised not to use a trampoline as there are chances you'll tumble. Bouncing on trampoline tops the list of exercises to avoid during early pregnancy as it could lead to injuries in your ankles, wrists, or even the womb, leading to birth issues for your baby.

5. Doing heavy-weight exercises

Pregnant women should not be involved in lifting weights as it puts a lot of strain on their ligaments and joints. These ballistic, dynamic big lifts are the movements you shouldn’t do while pregnant due to the hormone relaxin. 

6. Running, Cycling, or Jogging

Running long distances, cycling and jogging is the exercise to avoid during pregnancy first trimester as they can lead to overexertion and increased body temperature. These are the movements you shouldn’t do while pregnant as dehydration is a possibility and you are more vulnerable to muscle strain. 

7. Cross-fit exercises

CrossFit includes bounding, lifting big weights, high-intensity exercise and gymnastics that are not suggested when pregnant. Crossfit is the exercise not to do during pregnancy as it can lead to serious injury.

8. Climbing stairs 

Pregnant ladies are advised not to climb stairs as there is a risk of stumbling, tripping, over-exerting, and exercising in a hot climate. Climbing stairs are exercises to avoid during pregnancy especially in the second and third trimester as they can put pressure on the back, increase swelling in the feet and make you feel breathless.

9. Exercises that cause abdominal pressure

A pregnant woman should not perform any exercise that puts pressure on her abdomen, for example, situps or planks. These exercises are very painful and lead to muscle weakening and the development of abdominal separation. Exercises causing abdominal trauma are the movements you shouldn’t do while pregnant as they can lead to a condition called diastasis recti.

10. Training at high altitudes

In areas which are under low-oxygen situations, the human foetus grows improperly which puts an additional strain on the oxygen supply of the foetus. Training at high altitudes over 2500 metres is the exercise not to do during pregnancy as the chances of premature birth increase.

11. Exercises while laying down on your back

Pregnant women are advised to avoid exercises while laying down on your back as this leads to a compression of the gravid uterus, leading to hypotension in the mother and restricted blood supply to the fetus. Activities while lying flat on your back are the exercises to avoid during early pregnancy in the second trimester as it can lead to dizziness and breathlessness.

12. Exercises while laying down on your stomach

Any exercise that makes you lie on your stomach, for example, planks, should be avoided at any cost. These are the movements you shouldn’t do while pregnant as they put pressure and pull on your abdomen which might harm your baby.

13. Standing in a place for a long time

It is not advisable to stand stationary for a long time as too much blood gets collected in your lower extremities, making you pass out. Standing still is an exercise not to do during pregnancy as it puts strains on your joints.

14. Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is the last activity you can even think of while pregnant. This is an exercise not to do during pregnancy as it exerts a lot of pressure that leads to birth abnormalities and decompression sickness in the foetus.

How To Exercise During Early Pregnancy?

If you're new to working out, now isn't the time to start training for a marathon — but you may begin cautiously, aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

If you're very motivated and your practitioner has given you the go-ahead depending on your fitness level, you can work out for an hour or even longer until you listen to your body. Expectant mothers are more likely to become exhausted, which raises their risk of harm.

While working out hard is normal when you're pregnant, overdoing it can cause issues like dehydration or a shortage of oxygen for your baby if you're out of breath for lengthy periods. Learning to listen to your body throughout pregnancy is more crucial than ever.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends adopting a rate of perceived effort. Consider a scale from 7 to 20, with 7 representing slow strolling and 20 representing working out as hard as possible. You aim to keep your effort rate between 13 and 14 or at a moderately challenging level.

Which Month To Start Exercising During Pregnancy? 

You risk being struck, overheated, or falling during the first trimester. You may keep doing the less strenuous activities at the gym. Avoid contact sports like boxing, rugby, and football. You can convert to indoor riding for safety reasons.

The risk is moderate during the second trimester; thus, low-impact activities like walking or swimming should be substituted for running and leaping. Yoga, Pilates, and aqua aerobics are all fantastic, but let the instructor know what you expect. Don't spend more than a few minutes lying on your back.

The third trimester is critical for both you and your baby. Avoid exercising at all costs. Go for a stroll to maintain yourself healthy and fit. To relieve aches and pains, try simple stretches.

Who Should Avoid Exercise In Pregnancy?

Exercise during early pregnancy is not recommended if you have a medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or uncontrolled Type 1 diabetes. Exercise can be dangerous if you have an obstetric condition like:

  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Weak cervix

If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid aerobic exercise while pregnant:

  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  • Multiple gestations at risk for premature labour
  • Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
  • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
  • Premature labour during the current pregnancy
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

If you have any of the following conditions, avoid aerobic exercise during pregnancy:

  • Severe anaemia
  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Extreme morbid obesity
  • Extreme underweight (BMI <12)
  • History of a highly sedentary lifestyle
  • Intrauterine growth restriction in the current pregnancy
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Orthopaedic limitations
  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • Heavy smoker

Can Exercise Cause Miscarriage In The Early 3 Months Of Pregnancy?

Regular and light exercise is always good for the body and cannot cause miscarriages. However, if the pregnancy is complicated, it is safer to avoid routine exercise. Avoid high-intensity workouts at any stage of pregnancy whatsoever. 

For example, active women during their pregnancy pose a lower threat of suffering from gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. By being active, we mean getting involved in:-

  • Walking
  • Pregnancy yoga
  • Aquanatal classes

Also, if your concern is that your baby might be shaken around during your exercise, don’t worry, as this is not something that happens. Your baby is safe and secured inside your womb. In fact, being a little active during your pregnancy makes you get better sleep and reduces pregnancy complications and anxiety. 

Should I Avoid Exercise In Early Pregnancy?

Yes, as mentioned before, it is always advisable not to get involved in exercises and sports involving too much physical activity during pregnancy. However, at times, exercising becomes beneficial both for you and your kid in the following ways:

  • Feel better - When you're wondering how this weird body came to be yours, exercise might help you feel more in control and give you more energy. Not only can proper exercise help you feel better by generating endorphins, but it can also:
  • Strengthen and tone the muscles in your back, buttocks, and thighs
  • Alleviate your constipation
  • Activate the lubricating fluid in your joints
  • Assist in sleeping better by reducing tension
  • Look better - Exercise improves blood flow to the skin, resulting in a healthy glow.
  • Prepare you and your body for birth - Strong muscles and a healthy heart may make labour and delivery effortless. Controlling your breathing can help you cope with pain. Increased endurance can also be beneficial in the event of long labour.
  • Regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly - If you continue to exercise during your pregnancy, you will acquire less fat weight. However, don't anticipate or try to reduce weight when pregnant by exercising. The majority of women want to stay in shape throughout their pregnancy.

What Are The Precautions To Take While Exercising During Early Pregnancy? 

  • Do not overwork yourself
  • When exercising while pregnant, keep a conversation going to prevent getting out of breath
  • Do not engage in vigorous physical activity
  • Always warm up and cool down before and after exercise
  • Daily activity is recommended — 30 minutes of walking is sufficient
  • Water and other fluids should be consumed in large quantities
  • Inform your instructor that you are expecting a child
  • Horseback riding, downhill skiing, and other fall-prone activities should be avoided

What Are The Signs to Stop Exercising During Pregnancy?

When you're pregnant, low- to moderate-impact cardiovascular activity like swimming, walking, and running, as well as strength training, prenatal Pilates, and yoga, are all beneficial. However, each physical exercise comes with its own set of hazards. Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Bleeding vagina
  • Regular contractions of the uterus
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Painful contractions
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fluid leaking or gushing from the vagina
  • Calf swelling or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in fetal movement
  • Pain in your hips, pelvis, or abdominal area

Stop exercising during early pregnancy if you notice any of these signs. After you take a break, certain warning indicators, such as dizziness and muscular weakness, may go away.

If you have blood or fluid pouring from your vaginal area, calf swelling or discomfort, painful contractions, chest pain that won't go away, pelvic or abdominal pain, or any changes in foetal activity, call your obstetrician right once.

When To Call A Doctor During Early Pregnancy?

Stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor or midwife if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Warning signs of pre-term labour -  If you and your doctor or midwife act immediately, you may be able to avoid preterm labour. Keep an eye out for:
  • Contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual pain in your belly
  • Fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina
  • Trouble breathing - When you're pregnant, breathing problems like asthma might become more serious. If you have asthma, keep your inhaler with you at all times. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor or midwife:
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Chest pain
  • Heart pounding
  • Rapid heartbeat

Exercising while pregnant is a terrific method to keep fit and mentally stable. However, if your body sends you any warning signals, listen carefully and be prepared to back off or call your doctor or midwife.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exercises should you avoid in the first trimester?

You should avoid exercises or activities that may cause injury or other problems for your child in pregnancy first trimester. Listed below are a few exercises to avoid during pregnancy first trimester.

  • Downhill and water skiing
  • Gymnastics
  • Horseback riding
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Soccer, hockey, and other contact sports
  • Tennis, squash, and other sports that may throw you off balance
  • Exercising while lying on your stomach
  • Scuba diving 

2. Can exercise cause miscarriage?

During pregnancy, your body produces chemicals that relax the ligaments in your body. This aids in the expansion of your pelvis, but it also affects the mobility of your other joints. This is why high-impact activities should be avoided, which places you at a higher risk of injury and leads to miscarriage.

3. Can you do squats while pregnant?

No, it is not advisable to do squats while pregnant as it is a strenuous activity that leads to overheating muscles.

The Bottom Line

Exercising while pregnant is good for both you and your child. Following the ACOG's standards, avoiding high-risk behaviours, and listening to your body are the keys to keeping safe. 

A good place to start is to engage in some low-to-moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.

Just keep in mind that skiing, basketball, horseback riding, scuba diving, and dodgeball are some of the major exercises to avoid during early pregnancy. Stop if something hurts or doesn't feel right, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.


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