Steer Clear Of These Workouts When You're Pregnant

by Charlene Flanagan
Being pregnant during the summer is hard. If you want to beat the heat, perhaps some workout moves to de-stress your body, ease your mind and calm your breath are in order. Hey, why not take a look at our Trimester-wise guides?

There’s no denying that regular exercise during your pregnancy can mean a healthy delivery and recovery period—you’ll sleep better, have more strength and build endurance, and can get a better handle on your hormonal behaviour. According to Kathy Jisel Maroun, a personal trainer and childbirth educator associated with Dr Sears Wellness Institute, “During pregnancy, the last thing one should do is shed pounds. It is a crucial time in the fetus' development and losing weight is contraindicated (even with women who are classified as obese). Instead, we advise you to eat healthier (more fruits and vegetables) produce, and limit fastfood because they contain hydrogenated oils.”

While we've already prescribed you the list of Dos, there is a Don'ts list that just should not be ignored by the mommy-to-be.

The Workout Blacklist For Pregnant Women, According To Web MD

  • Say No To Contact-Based Sports: While it’s healthy to take up a sport, anything that has the potential to harm you and your baby should be avoided. This means no more basketball, hockey, soccer or games that can inflict injury or impact on your belly. Sporting activities are relatively safer in your first trimester, but when you begin to show, that’s when you need to pull the plug.
  • Say No To Activities That Can Trip You Up: When you’re expecting, there’s nothing that's more important than safety. This means, when you’re walking, running or even getting off the couch, you have to be super careful to not trip and fall. Keep the same thing in mind when taking up a physical activity that requires your body to maintain balance. Horseback riding, skiing, or even riding a cycle are better left alone. 
  • Say No To High-Intensity Workouts: Yes, everyone gains a few pounds during their pregnancy, and for most women, keeping the weight gain to a minimum usually takes precedence, especially to those on a weight loss program. This means, they’re looking for ways to still lose weight, and might be pushing themselves a little too much. For a normal person, pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion boosts athletic performance but when you're pregnant, it reduces the blood flow to your uterus. It’s best to avoid HIIT, kickboxing or aerobics during your pregnancy as it won’t only affect your baby, it can weaken your joints and increase the risk of injury.
  • Say No To Hot Yoga: You may be a fan of Bikram yoga and other sweat-inducing workouts but they can cause severe dehydration, nausea, and even increase the risk of neural tube defects and other malformations among fetuses because of the side-effects of regular overheating of the body.
  • Say No To Putting Your Back Into It: It’s important to understand that not all exercises that require you to lay on your back are  safe. These exercise moves can put undue pressure on your belly, and that’s never a good thing when you’re pregnant. We recommend avoiding any yoga pose or exercise move that will cut off circulation to your legs and feet. Exercises like crunches, peddling, leg spinners, leg twists, leg lifts, should be on the Don'ts list.

Things To Remember, According To Our Experts:

  • TV host and producer of The Health Reporter and also a clinical exercise physiologist, Karen Owoc feels that it’s important to discuss your exercise plan with your healthcare provider and a clinical exercise physiologist. “Every stage of pregnancy affects your response to exercise. It causes changes in weight, large increases in blood volume (approximately 50 per cent), and fetal/uterine growth, which exerts upward pressure on your abdominal organs and diaphragm. During your pregnancy, it’s important to follow an exercise plan that specifies the exact frequency, intensity, duration, and type of exercise,” she says.
  • “Mothers-to-be should stop or avoid exercises that cause nausea, dizziness, stomach pain, prolonged shortness of breath, bleeding or fainting,” says Maurice Williams, owner of Move Well Fitness.
  • Dr Daniel Roshan, director of ROSH Maternal-Fetal Medicine, explains, "During pregnancy, one should avoid over-exercising or increasing body temperature too fast or too much. Those who are above their ideal body weight should calculate the number of pounds they can safely gain and take it from there.”
If you find yourself exhausted and the fatigue is accompanied with other symptoms such as depression, dizziness, lack of appetite, breathlessness or anxiety, it's time for a doctor's intervention. Working out can indeed help you and your baby but unfortunately, not one size fits all therefore the cautionary measures and Don'ts list is more important than the Dos one.

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