Exercise No-Nos When You're Pregnant
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of exercising during pregnancy -- better sleep, more strength and endurance, and a lighter mood. But some exercises are simply not a good idea when you’re pregnant. Knowing the difference can help keep you and your growing baby safe.
Exercises to Avoid
There are some types of exercise that are just too risky when you're carrying a baby in your belly. Here are some to stay away from:
Exercise to lose weight. Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, you can expect to gain about 25-35 pounds. This can be hard to take, both emotionally and physically, but save the calorie burning for after you give birth. As long as you eat a healthy diet, weight gain during pregnancy is a sign of your baby’s healthy development.
Contact sports. Rough and tumble sports like soccer, basketball, and ice hockey come with a high risk of getting knocked in the stomach. Avoid these sports after the first trimester, when your belly starts to get big and exposed.
Fall-prone activities. The risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to activities that require a lot of balance, such as skiing and horseback riding. Even riding a bike outdoors is sketchy when you're not used to balancing a pregnant belly. After week 12 or 14, do your pedaling on a stationary bike.
High-altitude exercise. Even if you love the mountains, stay below 6,000 feet when you exercise. If you feel any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue, call it quits for the day and call your doctor.
Deep-sea exploration. Put any plans to go scuba diving on hold. The change in pressure could put your baby at risk of decompression illness.
Overdoing it. Pushing to the point of exhaustion may boost athletic performance but when you're pregnant, it can reduce blood flow to your uterus.During exercise you should be able to sing one round of “Happy Birthday” without running out of breath. If you can’t, you're pushing too hard.
Bouncing or jarring activities. Joints get looser during pregnancy, which can increase your risk of injury. Take a temporary vacation from high-impact aerobics and kickboxing.
Too much heat. Steer clear of Bikram and other forms of hot yoga while you're pregnant. On hot summer days, plan ahead so you can exercise in the cool of the morning or evening, or find a gym that has air conditioning. Drink plenty of water.
Lying on your back. The extra weight of your pregnant belly can cut off circulation to your legs, feet, and uterus. Avoid yoga poses, crunches, and any other activities that call for lying on your back for more than just a couple of minutes.