We have all heard about the benefits of exercising during pregnancy. However, some still urge pregnant women to avoid exercising, which can lead us to believe the worst about any pregnancy workout. According to Dr. Laura Riley, high-risk pregnancy expert and spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) and the author of Pregnancy: You and Your Baby, pregnant women need to be physically active.
Regular exercise during pregnancy positively affects both the mom-to-be and the baby's carrying, including better sleep, lighter mood, as well as maintaining strength and endurance. Experts say that it can also help improve posture and it decreases discomforts, such as fatigue and backaches, constipation, swelling, and bloating.
It also relieves stress, prevents gestational diabetes, and prepares the body for the needed stamina during labor and delivery. Knowing how to exercise during pregnancy is just as important as getting moving.
While working out has many benefits, it's important that women always choose the right activities that are safe to do. Some exercises can come with more risk than reward for a pregnant woman. So here are 12 workouts women should say NO to while they are pregnant.
15 Doing Karate
While you may be in a “butt-kicking” mood, and often, it may not be the best idea for you to undergo martial arts training while pregnant. However, Crystal Green, 31, did! Notably, she’s a karate champion and owner of a Hollywood Gym where she specializes in holding ‘Foxy and Fierce’ women’s workout classes.
Even at eight months of pregnancy Crystal didn’t box up those sparring gloves! She spin-kicked her way through pregnancy in a way that many wouldn’t even expect from a karate champ. Her doctor even encouraged her to keep going, since her body was already in that particular rhythm and she showed no signs of harm being done to herself or the baby. You, on the other hand, may just spin kick and chop your way into the hospital. So be careful!
14 Hot Yoga
Yoga, in general, is a good exercise for pregnant women. It’s a great way to maintain your flexibility and strength while you are pregnant. However, not all yoga classes are suitable for you and your baby.
It’s best to stay away from very humid, hot rooms. Hence, you need to avoid hot yoga, which involves doing poses in hell, er, I mean humid and hot rooms. Imagine a roasted chicken on a stick turning over hot coals. That is what you will feel like. Not to mention, humidity decreases oxygen intake for you and baby.
It can also cause an overheating to the growing baby in your womb. You should also avoid using saunas and hot tubs, because of the excessive heat it gives to your body.
Haley Calgary didn’t let pregnancy stop her from reaching new heights! Haley didn’t ease up on her training at all. She’s quoted as saying, "It's super exciting that I'm still increasing my climbing grades every week, instead of regressing as my belly grows," she wrote. You heard that correctly! She saw steady, weekly increase in her climbing grades.
She was 32 weeks pregnant at the time of the photo. She is an enthusiastic rock climber and acroyogi and was able to continue that same drive and enthusiasm throughout her pregnancy- often scaling the walls with her “belly barriers” and all. If you are planning to engage in rock climbing or any new heights during pregnancy, please keep your current fitness and skill level in mind and consult with you doctor for the safest personal route.
12 Intense Cardio
Youtube hit fitness guru Tiffany Rothe continued her effective workouts throughout the months of her pregnancy. Her “Pretty Mama Pregnancy Workout” routine consists of 6 main phases: warm-ups, the fat burner, strengthening, sculpting, butt-toning, then waist shaping.
The total workout is broken up into three parts that are approximately 10 minutes each, which is how Tiffany recommends going through them. But because her cardio workouts are often more on the fun side, many a pregnant girl has tried to go through all of the pregnancy training at once. The full 30 mins. Unless you already have a previous workout background, this is not recommended. Instead, do as Tiffany suggests and ease into it, maybe even doing one 10-minute segment per day.
It’s much better to do this consistently than to try to blast through them all at once, completely taking yourself out of the game for a few days, as many (now humbled) pregnant women have seen.
11 Horseback Riding
Professional dressage rider Eliza Sydnor Romm (not pictured above), has been riding horses her whole life. So during her pregnancy, her doctor encouraged her to continue doing what her body was used to. Although you may have a special love for horses, sometimes they can just have a mind of their own. Even if you are an expert horse rider, you are still at the risk of falling off the saddle.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists emphasizes that you need avoid activities that can lead to falling or abdominal trauma. You may still be able to enjoy horseback riding during the first trimester if you are an expert horse rider and the horse is only walking and not galloping while you are on its back.
You are also clumsier when you are pregnant, and your sense of balance is off. So keeping your balance on the horse can be tricky. Furthermore, the jolting motion of a running horse can cause placental disruption, a serious pregnancy complication that separates the placenta from the uterus.
You may love gymnastics and yoga. You may be super driven and motivated to see your full pregnancy potential. You may see an image of a random pregnant lady online doing a handstand and then glance back at your own mat like, “Yes, I can!” And truthfully, perhaps you could...or perhaps you couldn’t.
Either way, do you really want to find out the answer to that question while you are pregnant? If you do, you’re a hero. If you are not able to then you just get that crazy, ‘what were you thinking’ look from people. Randi Greene a Buti Yoga fitness instructor and founder of RLG Fitness successfully continued her yoga inversion throughout her pregnancy.
9 Push-ups And Sit-ups
From a youtube channel called 'Nicholas Wood' of Health Space Clinics on their "Push ups. Toning Arms and triceps during pregnancy." video, you will find Kate Wood, a fitness trainer successfully doing push up beyond her first trimester of pregnancy. However, as soon as you are done with your first trimester, you may need to roll up the exercise mat for the rest of the 6 months of your pregnancy. Push-ups (especially the more complex, one-handed varieties like in the image), sit-ups, and other abdominal crunches are generally fine to do during the first three months, but its best to be avoided afterward.
They are particularly challenging to do when your belly is already starting to put out. On the other hand, the main danger when you’re doing push-ups is the chance of falling. Losing your balance could cause your hand to slip, and the risk of falling onto your stomach might cause trauma to your baby. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Massy Arias is both a certified fitness trainer and social media celebrity. Brandishing her weapon of beautiful creation- her pregnant belly, Massy continued on with the signature workouts she’s known for. Her own extra load didn’t keep her from heavy weight lifting. She also continued on with her out of the box, high intensive interval training workouts. Usually solo, but also practicing the balance of acroyoga with her partner.
Stating that on the day of the particular photo above, her and her partner has spent over 2 hours working on their mobility and flexibility. Massy continued her workout routine throughout her pregnancy. Even seen posting pictures and videos on Instagram as late as 34 weeks pregnant. Her hashtag #mawarrior is right!
7 Belly Aerobics
You are not a cat that will always land on its feet. Unless you are Cat Woman, your center of gravity changes while you are pregnant. Your joints also become looser in preparation of the additional weight and the upcoming delivery. This increases the risk of falling and injury. It’s best to avoid high-impact aerobics as early as your first trimester of pregnancy. All that kicking and jumping will also endanger you and your baby.
If you are into exercising before you got pregnant, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to stop what you are doing altogether. Change things up a bit maybe. Understanding and taking precautions to stay safe while getting your prenatal sweat on is very important. Following your passion is not bad at all, but tone it down a notch. Listen to your body. Always stop if something hurts. Wait until the baby is out and your body is ready again to pump it up with intensity.
6 Pole Dancing
Seeing the video of super fit mom Helle Carlstedt May have inspired many pregnant women to order that new pole for the bedroom. But before you go scaling poles like the light company, please ask yourself these questions before beginning.
Are you are first-timer or beginner on the pole? Will this be a new adventure or skill for you to learn? Helle, as a well-trained pole dancing instructor and co-owner at Vida Pole in Stockholm, Sweden, was able to finesse the pole throughout her nine months of pregnancy. If you will have to learn this as a new skill, then learning it while you are pregnant may not be the best, er, safest of times. As with any new skill, you will be, well, awkward at first and will have to build up to gracefulness.
Your tummy might not be too big yet. You might still able physically able to do exercises that require lying on your stomach. Don’t get too comfortable just because you don’t feel any discomfort. Some abdominal strengthening activities stretch your tummy excessively, which can be very dangerous. Exercises involving lying on your belly, can disturb the blood flow and cut off the oxygen supply to your baby. Stay away from these exercises!
It’s also the main reason you need to avoid sleeping on your stomach, especially during the latter stage of pregnancy. Your growing baby may get pressed against the main vein that carries blood back from your lower body to your heart. It could restrict blood flow decrease and harm your baby. Sleep on your left side for maximum blood flow to your baby, as well as improved kidney functioning, which helps reduce swelling during pregnancy.
4 Heavy Weightlifting
Meghan Umphres Leatherman, from Arizona, U.S, a woman who is 33 years old continued her heavy weight training through her pregnancy. In fact, just two days before delivery Meghan was deadlifting 215lbs. “It made me feel good so why stop? ” says Meghan. You may be wondering about what kind of training she does. Here trainings include Crossfit, gymnastics, cardio, and weightlifting.
Many recent studies report that physical stress on the body, like that with weightlifting, can pose serious risk to your developing child, even cause miscarriage. Moreover, lifting anything heavy temporarily diverts blood flow from your internal organs into your muscles, thus obstructing the flow of nutrients and oxygen to your baby.
You will also need to hold your breath a little when lifting heavy weights, which is not great for both you and your baby. Your heart rate also increases while you’re pregnant, so you need to avoid over-exerting yourself. There is enough stress on your body, add more wisely.
3 Mountain Biking
Kelly Hazelgrove an avid mountain biker since 2006 was introduced to mountain biking by her now-husband Davy, who owns a bike shop. She has been a riding instructor for the last 4+ years and she became a certified IMBA coach in 2014. So it is no wonder that she continued on with her passion of mountain bike riding throughout her pregnancy.
Listen to some of her struggles and successes in her own words, “Logistically, I had to adapt to pregnant riding once my belly popped out. Around week 19 I was miserable bending over on the bike with my shorts cutting into my waist. Bike clothiers don’t make a maternity line but someone gave me the idea to wear a pair of my husband’s bibs. Wow, what a difference! Around week 30 I had a stem-extender installed on my bike. This put me in more of an upright position, which was much more comfortable. Aside from clothing logistics, I rode with a partner and went much slower. My lungs felt squished, so climbing was harder and I also had to take a lot of bathroom breaks. Around week 30 I quit riding trails and stuck to pavement or gravel. I even rode the day before I went into labor!”
While many believe that tire turning may just be an activity better left to those training for their upcoming football season, Natalie Nunn, defies the laws of tire turning, often flipping them faster than flapjacks, while pregnant. While Natalie is better known for her TV role in “Bad Girls Club,” she has shown to be even badder in the gym.
Before giving birth to her daughter, she kept up a strict strength training regime. Stating, “I’m focusing on being healthy and fit while pregnant! My fit and pregnancy workouts have been keeping me in good shape for my snapback! ALL APPROVED BY MY DOCTOR! I also have created an at home fit pregnancy workouts for all you moms who want to stay in shape while pregnant no gym needed no equipment needed!”
Jenelle Evans, known for her role in reality TV show “Teen Mom” the now 22-year-old mom of 2 has had a controversial background, riddled with arrests and losing custody of an older child. However, she put together a series of personal positive runs when as late as six months pregnant she would often engage in 2-mile runs (two 1/2mile runs repeated twice).
Other exercises she does from her ‘No Excuses Pregnancy Workout’: Run or walk ½ mile, 12 bicep curls, 12 dips, 12 shoulder presses, 12 lateral raises, another half-mile walk or run, 20 lunges, 20 calf raises, 20 pie squats and 30- to 45-seconds of a wall sit, then repeat. Jenelle admits that her workout is definitely not for everyone, which to most pregnant women, is a very obvious statement.
Sources: Stuff.co.nz, Dailymail.co.uk, Cosmopolitan.com, Crankjoy.com, Youtube.com