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A pregnant woman is often advised to refrain from any strenuous activities and one of the first things to come to mind when you think of these activities is exercise. However, as logical as it may seem that exercise during pregnancy is to be skipped, exercising during pregnancy is very safe, provided the right kind of exercises are chosen and done under the guidance of a trained person. High impact exercises that put stress on the abdomen or lower back need to be avoided as it may affect the developing foetus.
Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?
It is safe to practice light exercises every day during pregnancy. By avoiding rigorous and stressful workouts, you can stay fit and healthy with some simple exercises. Practising light exercises not only gives you stamina and energy but also gives you good sleep, reduces stress and tunes the body for delivery.
When Not to Exercise
Typically, there are some exercises that need to be avoided during the first trimester and some others that are unsuitable for the second and third trimester. It is better to learn the exercises from an expert who understands the impact of each exercise on the various muscles of the body. If you have conditions like diabetes, heart problems, low placenta, weak uterus or bleeding, you must seek medical advice before starting on an exercise regime.
9 Exercises To Avoid During Pregnancy
Your instincts are the best judge in deciding what exercises to avoid during pregnancy. A growing baby bump considerably shifts the centre of gravity and restricts body movement. The following are some activities that you can avoid during pregnancy.
1. High Impact Aerobics
Those exercises that involve heavy jumping, jogging and exertion can be avoided during this period as there are chances of losing balance while doing so.
2. Heavy Weight Lifting
Exercises that involve weight training by lifting weights, cause a pull in the abdomen putting pressure on the uterus. Overhead shoulder presses also put a strain on the lower back.
3. Lying on the Abdomen
Lying on the abdomen and doing exercises can be very harmful to the foetus. After the first trimester, even lying on the back can be a little uncomfortable. Exercises in both these position cause discomfort and can be avoided.
4. Contact Sports
Active sports like volleyball, basketball, horse riding etc., have a high risk of injury. The ligaments and bones tend to be more fragile during pregnancy and are prone to damage.
Cycling is a very good physical exercise. But during pregnancy, the growing uterus can make it difficult for you to balance the cycle. The chances of tripping and falling are more due to the altered centre of gravity.
Crunches are great exercises for shaping the area around the abdomen. However, it is especially an exercise to avoid during pregnancy first trimester. The pull in the lower abdominal muscles can cause undue stress to the uterus and the baby.
7. Sauna/Hot Yoga
Exposure to excessive heat is harmful to the developing baby and for this reason hot sauna baths or hot yoga techniques must be avoided during pregnancy.
8. Tough Yoga Asanas
Yoga is very good during pregnancy, and in fact, there are many pre-natal yoga courses that you can take to relax and de-stress themselves. However, there are some yoga postures that require a lot of twisting and bending. If you have practised yoga before getting pregnant, consult the doctor or a trained yoga instructor before continuing with those asanas during pregnancy.
9. Back Bending Exercises
Exercises and yoga postures that involve bending of the back, for example, the sun salutation, must not be done during pregnancy. These postures create an unnecessary pull in the uterus, which can affect the foetus.
Safety Tips for Exercising
While exercising during pregnancy, it is very important for you to understand the changes in your body. Hormonal changes that lead to losing ligaments and bones, increased resting heart rate, along with a sense of imbalance restricts the options available for an exercise routine. Here are some of the exercise don’ts when you are pregnant:
- Don’t exert yourself to do any exercise. Stop or at least briefly pause when there is a pain in any part of the body, nausea, dizziness, headache or shortness of breath.
- Don’t do exercises that give any kind of stress on the abdomen or the lower back.
- Don’t do your exercises without consulting experts.
- Don’t start exercising without consulting your doctor if there are any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Don’t exert yourself in the hot sun or in hot water baths. Set the surrounding temperature equal to the body temperature.
Always remember to:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and replenish the loss of fluids.
- Practise deep breathing exercises to increase the oxygen uptake, which eventually gives good oxygen supply to the growing foetus.
If the doctor gives a go-ahead for exercise, then you can follow a light exercise regime for about 30 minutes a day for four days a week. However, walking and other physical activities can normally be done as before.
Staying fit and active in the journey to motherhood is very important for any woman. Apart from the regular chores, a few minutes of stretching and exercising can go a long way in preparing the body for a safe and easy delivery. Making an informed choice of exercise ensures that any kind of complication is kept away.