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Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

It is good to exercise during pregnancy, but here are few things that you should avoid while you workout with your baby-bump.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : October 9, 2014 5:08 PM IST

pregnancy exercise

We all know that exercise holds its own importance during pregnancy. Not only does it ensure better blood circulation, but it helps in the transference of nutrients and oxygen to your baby, growing within the womb. It even spares you from the various aches, pains and discomforts of pregnancy and prepares your body for the birthing process, which means an easy and manageable labour. While it is a good practise to sweat a little during your pregnancy, to reap the various benefits of exercise, do keep in mind that a wrong step now can adversely affect both you and your baby. It is better to consult an expert or talk to your doctor first before embarking on a fitness regimen while pregnant, especially if you are a novice. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when exercising during pregnancy.

Avoid straining your back while exercising: 'While you do your floor exercises that are important, don't strain your back too much. Floor exercises that keep you on your back for more than two minutes should be avoided consciously, especially if you are well into your pregnancy and your baby-bump protrudes out,' says Sonali Shivlani, Internationally certified lactation expert. Remember, with the belly protruding out when you lie down flat on your back, the weight of the belly presses on the main blood vessel that brings blood back to your heart from the lower limbs. This can make you feel dizzy and reduce blood supply to the fetus. So avoid lying flat on your back for too long during your exercise after you have crossed the 16th week of your pregnancy. Read week by week pregnancy guide: Week 16th of your pregnancy.

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Don't hold your breath for too long: One benefit of exercise is that while you workout your body's circulation improves and helps in better blood and oxygen supply to your baby as well as to the various parts of your body, for proper functioning and agility. To make this happen, it is important to breathe properly during pregnancy and practise deep breathing consciously for the purpose. 'Holding your breath for too long can again hamper the process. This is because supply of less oxygen, during exercises can again lead to dizziness and breathlessness, hence creating a shortage of oxygen supply to your baby,' says Sonali. So breathe easy while exercising. Read pregnancy tip Practise deep breathing during pregnancy.

Avoid abdominal crunches: Right from your first trimester avoid doing crunches that would put pressure on your abdomen. This is because not only will it interfere with proper blood supply, it can also lead to a drop in your blood pressure levels. To strengthen your abdominal muscles try other exercises like side raises, squatting, Pilates and also Kegels. Read 9 exercise dos and don'ts to be followed during pregnancy.

Stay away from exercises that can hurt your joints: In the normal scenario, the hormone relaxin, loosens the joints and ligaments of a woman during pregnancy. Doing any sort of exercise that involves rigorous movements causing a jolt to the joints can be harmful. Avoid taking up any form of martial arts or exercises that can make you jump or be at heights. Read safe exercises for first, second and third trimester.

Don't try anything new: If you have never exercised prior to your pregnancy, never try anything strenuous after conception, as it can adversely affect your health as well as that of your baby. Start with gentle exercises like walking or aqua workouts that would help to burn calories and be light on your joints too. Read 5 ways to lose weight post a C-section.

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Also read our other pregnancy related articles:

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