Exercising is an easy way to stay in shape, boost your mood and feel great — which is why pregnant women are often more than willing to get their heart pumping in an attempt to keep both themselves and their baby fit and healthy. If you’re experiencing pesky yet common early symptoms of pregnancy like morning sickness or fatigue, exercise may be your secret weapon to feeling better, too. But it’s important to know what exercises to avoid during early pregnancy.
While staying fit may be at the top of your priority list during your first trimester, you’re likely unsure of how to tackle your daily exercise routine when experiencing such great bodily changes. While exercise can provide you with loads of health benefits before, during and after your pregnancy, it’s crucial to exercise caution when working out as an expectant mother, too.
Not sure which workouts are potentially harmful and should be avoided? Here’s a look at six exercises to avoid during early pregnancy and put on the back-burner until after you give birth.
1. High-Intensity Aerobics
We know that kick-boxing or Zumba may be your go-to choice whenever you feel like working up a sweat — and who could blame you? Nothing feels quite as good as expelling all of your energy and relaxing on the coach after an intense workout, after all. But while aerobic and cardio-oriented activity may be great workout options for prenatal care, they’re not always ideal for women who have just become pregnant.
High-intensity workouts can put more stress on your joints, causing pain and soreness that may maximize your chance of experiencing muscle contractions. Plus, aerobics may leave you feeling winded and out of breath — a definite side effect you won’t be wanting to feel.
If you don’t want to give up on aerobics entirely, consider getting your heart pumping in the water instead. The buoyancy of the water ensures that some of the pressure is taken off of your joints, reducing the impact and stress placed on your body while still helping you get a feel-good workout in.
2. Contact Sports
You’re not afraid to get your feet dirty while playing a game of football out in the park with your friends. You may even like the rush of skating across the ice rink while playing an intense game of ice hockey. But while contact sports may be a great way to expel your energy and aggression, they’re not ideal for women throughout any stage of their pregnancy.
Consider putting your sports games on hold until after your baby is born. Sports that heighten your chances of receiving an injury to your stomach are exercises you’ll need to avoid during early pregnancy stages. You don’t want to risk colliding with someone on your team, causing unnecessary strain or damage to your baby nestled inside.
3. Intense Weight Lifting
While listening to Drake’s newest album may leave you with the urge to pump some iron and push your strength to the limits, you’ll want to hang your towel on the bench press until after you give birth.
Although light to moderate weight lifting can be a great way to remain in shape and prepare you for childbirth, lifting heavy weights should be off limits during your pregnancy. Bench pressing and carrying excessively heavy objects can create musculoskeletal stress or cardiogenic issues, leading to potentially harmful health effects on your unborn child.
4. Any Exercises on Your Back
While you’re pregnant, you may find yourself feeling lethargic and worn out — especially after experience morning sickness and other early pregnancy symptoms. But while you may be tempted to relax and do a few stress-free exercises while conveniently lying on your back, it may be best to get your heart pumping from an upright position instead.
Because blood pressure begins to fall during the earlier stages of pregnancy, women are at an increased risk of experiencing hypotension during the first several weeks. Lying on your back may also impair blood flow to the uterus — an action you don’t want to occur at any stage of your pregnancy.
5. High-Altitude Hiking
If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, you may want to celebrate by going on a beautiful hike with your partner while reveling in the beauty of nature. But don’t lace up your favorite pair of hiking boots just yet — you may want to think twice before enlisting in a high-altitude adventure.
Since pregnant women are already at an increased risk for experiencing lightheadedness due to hormonal changes, hiking at high altitudes may decrease their blood-oxygen levels even further — making it one of the top exercises to avoid during early pregnancy. This means that the oxygen supply available for the fetus will be lower, too, making it ideal to enlist on a journey on a flat level instead.
Know What Exercises to Avoid During Early Pregnancy
Remember never to overdo any exercises during your pregnancy — from your first trimester up until the weeks before your baby is due. While maintaining regular physical activity is important, it’s vital to get some rest, too. If you ever begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy or overly exhausted at any point during your workout, remember to take a seat and relax.
While pregnancy is the perfect excuse to maintain a healthy body for both you and your baby, it doesn’t mean you should work out like you’re preparing for bikini season, either. Keep yourself busy, but know when to stop and take a breather, too. Your baby will keep you on your feet plenty when they arrive — so there’s no need to stress outperforming yourself today.