Exercises for Pregnant Women: Worst Workouts for when You're Expecting

The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are well documented and easy to find. I found it much more difficult to find out which exercises to avoid while pregnant. It is important to stay active while pregnant, but of course your activities are more limited for the safety of you and your unborn child. Exercise can help you feel better, sleep better, look better, and make it easier to regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly. While it is important to exercise during pregnancy, it is also important to know which exercises to avoid during pregnancy. The worst exercises for pregnant women include those that put strain on our bodies. Back pain is a big concern during pregnancy and many exercises can make the pain much worse. The exercises and activities listed here are either dangerous, harmful, or both. They can cause pain and discomfort and should be avoided in order to ensure the safety of your unborn child, as well as yourself.

1. Crunches - This is perhaps one of the worst exercises you can do while pregnant. Crunches put pressure on your abdomen as well as your unborn child. The abdomen contracts and the curled up position strains your back and the muscles that surround your spine. Most women experience back pain during pregnancy and crunches will only make it worse. Discontinue crunches when you become pregnant.

2. Sit-Ups - You should avoid sit-ups at all costs. Much like crunches, sit-ups put a strain on your back and pressure on your abdomen. They can cause stomach pain and cramps. Stop doing sit-ups when you become pregnant.

3. Weight Lifting - Whether it be free weights or machine weights, you should avoid weight lifting during your pregnancy. Weight lifting puts a considerable strain on your body. Muscles in your arms, legs, chest, abdomen, and back are used when lifting weights. When lifting anything while pregnant, use your legs and not your back, no matter how light or heavy it may be. Weight lifting is dangerous during pregnancy. The risks outweigh the benefits, so steer clear of this one.

4. Running - Some women, myself included, were runners before becoming pregnant and continue to run during their pregnancies. If you ran regularly before getting pregnant, running is not as ha
rmful to you. If you did not run before you were pregnant then you should not begin running during your pregnancy. Running puts a considerable strain on your legs, knees, and back. It becomes increasingly dangerous as your pregnancy progresses and should be avoided after the 20 week mark.

5. Jumping - Any exercise that includes jumping, such as jumping rope and trampolines, should be avoided during pregnancy. Jumping is unsettling to your body and can cause back, pelvic, and abdominal pain. There is also a risk of falling while jumping.

6. Arm Raises - While this exercise doesn't seem particularly dangerous, you must use caution when doing them. Arm raises can actually help alleviate back pain during pregnancy, if done in moderation. Excessive arm raises or rapid motion while doing them can cause strain to your back. Protecting yourself from back pain is very important during pregnancy and too many arm raises should be avoided.

7. Twists - Twists can be harmful to the abdomen, pelvis, and spine. Avoid any exercise that requires you to twist side to side or rotate your torso. Make sure you maintain good posture at all times to avoid pain and discomfort.

8. Tennis - Because tennis requires you to combine several of the exercises listed here, you should definitely avoid it. Tennis combines running, jumping, twisting, and arm raises. Pregnant women should avoid tennis after the 20 week mark.

9. Basketball - Women that are pregnant should avoid all contact sports, especially basketball. Basketball combines running, jumping, twisting, arm raises, and jarring, often unexpected movements. Any of these individual things can be harmful during pregnancy. When they are combined they become dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

10. Gymnastics - There are many aspects of gymnastics that make it harmful and dangerous to your pregnancy. Twisting, jumping, jarring movements, arm raises, and running are all harmful while pregnant and should be avoided. Gymnastics is not a pregnancy-friendly exercise and should be discontinued when you become pregnant.

When you become pregnant there are many restrictions that you must recognize, and exercise is one of them. Naturally, your body is not the same during pregnancy and you can't continue to exercise the
 same way you would if you weren't pregnant. Pregnant women should avoid any exercises that contain running, jumping, twisting, jarring or unexpected movements, arm raises, bending forward, dipping movements, and lifting. You should of course consult your physician before deciding on an exercise plan. Use caution and make your exercise choices wisely.

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  1. Great article! Add ballet plies to the list too. It's how I permanently messed up my SI joints in my back. :(