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Exercises to Avoid during the Pregnancy

written by: Jessica Bello • edited by: lrohner • updated: 10/17/2010

It is important to try to stay healthy and fit during the pregnancy, but at the same time pregnant women should take care and not overdo the workout. Find out which exercises to avoid during pregnancy and when to contact your midwife or medical practitioner.

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    Benefits of Exercising during Pregnancy

    For years it was the general belief that pregnant women should put their feet up and refrain from all exercise and hard work for nine months. Today, we know that moderate exercise during pregnancy has benefits for both mother and baby. Staying fit can help you to cope with the pregnancy, labor and motherhood. Exercise can also help boost your immune system, increase your energy levels and mood, and it might help you sleep better at night.

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    Exercises to Avoid during Pregnancy

    There are some exercises that pregnant women should refrain from when pregnant.

    • Avoid exercises that might make you overheat. Take care to not exercise in hot and humid conditions and refrain from using saunas and hot tubs. Always wear appropriate clothing when exercising and drink a lot of water.
    • Avoid exercising on extreme altitude where the oxygen levels might be low.
    • Do not practice exercises where the risk of injury is high. Such exercises include football, soccer, skiing, horseback riding and mountain climbing.
    • It is recommended that you give up movements that causes bouncing in your third trimester, such as jumping, dancing, running and bicycling on unpaved roads.
    • Do not participate in exercises that could cause trauma to the belly, including activities that include twisting at the waist.
    • Avoid practicing exercises like deep knee bends, sit-ups, leg raises and straight-leg toe touches.
    • Avoid high intensity workouts during pregnancy as it could put too much stress on your pelvic floor muscle and joints.
    • After the first trimester, you should avoid exercises that involve lying on your back as this can reduce the blood flow to the baby.

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    Stop Exercising if you Experience any of these Symptoms

    It is recommended that you stop the workout immediately if you experience any of the following:

    • chest, leg joint or tummy pain
    • dizzyness or faintness
    • shortness of breath
    • vaginal bleeding
    • difficulty walking
    • contractions
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    Consult Your Physician

    Speak to your doctor about your exercise regime if you have previously experienced a miscarriage, given birth to a premature baby or have had any complications from pregnancy. Even if you have not experienced any complications, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regime. Pregnant women that are new to exercise should make sure to check with their doctor about the type of exercise that would be suitable for them during the pregnancy. They will also be able to tell you which exercises to avoid during pregnancy.

    Overall, there are many benefits of exercising during pregnancy, but care should be taken not to overdo the workout. Always listen to your body and if you are getting very tired you should slow down.