Although it is generally safe to exercise during pregnancy, most doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid exercises after the first trimester that require them to lie flat on their backs.
For pregnant women, there are some activities that will increase the risks of injury, stress and other complications. Some other activities will simply be too uncomfortable or tiring. It is important that women who are planning to exercise while they are pregnant are aware of what exercises they should avoid including:
Heavy weight training: Avoid exercises and lifts that involve maximal isometric muscle contractions. These are thought to put too much stress on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system
Exercises lying on your back: As stated earlier, after the first trimester of pregnancy you should avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back. This will reduce the risk of affecting blood flow to the foetus and hypotension from vena cava compression by the uterus
Exercises lying on the stomach: Avoid any exercises that require you to put undue pressure on your stomach. This may risk affecting blood flow to the foetus.
Contact sports and high-impact sports: Sports such as hockey, football and basketball can risk abdominal trauma, excessive joint stress and falls. Any activities that increase the risk of falls should be avoided in order to reduce the risk of injury to you and your foetus. This includes sports such as gymnastics, scuba diving, or horseback riding.
Any activities which require changes to the centre of gravity: Although some doctors say step aerobics workouts are acceptable if you can lower the height of your step as your pregnancy progresses, others caution that a changing centre of gravity makes falls much more likely. If you do choose to do aerobics, just make sure to avoid becoming extremely winded or exercising to the point of exhaustion.
Standing still: Avoid standing still for long periods of time. If you are traveling by train, request for a seat or travel by the reserved compartment. Also, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, take breaks in between. If possible, switch to seated position for chopping vegetables or cleaning.
As a precautionary measure, check with your doctor if you experience any of these warning signs during any type of exercise:
- vaginal bleeding
- unusual pain
- dizziness or light-headedness
- unusual shortness of breath
- racing heartbeat or chest pain
- fluid leaking from your vagina
- uterine contractions