Exercises to Avoid During Each Stage of Pregnancy

Exercises to Avoid During Each Stage of Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy is a vital component to maintaining both the health of you and of your baby.  However, there are some exercises that all pregnant women should avoid regardless of their fitness level.


exercises to avoid during pregnancy

Table of Contents:

Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy

Studies have proven that there are many benefits of exercise during pregnancy.  Regular exercise has also been shown to make labor easier and shorter, reduce stress, and maintain mental health.  Read Top 5 Yoga moves for making labor easier

Exercise helps moms having their second child.  Studies have shown that exercises vaginal birth after cesarean has a higher success rate for women who exercised.

NHS recommends that you don't overexert yourself during exercise.  "You should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant."


Exercises Safe During First Trimester

Whether you are already active individual or one who is taking up exercise as a way of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, please be sure to clear any activity with your physician first.

There are loads of exercise options for you to choose from to maintain a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, including, but not limited to

Remember that you'll need to drink more water while exercising during all phases.    

Exercises to Avoid During First Trimester

Exercising in the first trimester is probably going to be the easiest time to exercise during your pregnancy and the guidelines are simple.

Avoid any exercises that makes you feel

  • Queasy
  • Too hot
  • Dehydrated
  • Experience any vaginal discharge, bleeding, or pelvic pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your primary care physician immediately.

You should also avoid exercises where there is a risk of falling or are high impact.   Read more at The Beacon @ Luminshealth.org

Image from Luminhealth.org

Exercises to Avoid During Second Trimester

As your baby grows and your body changes, you might notice that it’s harder to accomplish certain tasks. You will also notice that basic exercises such as walking, swimming, and cycling feel a lot better on your body than more strenuous ones.

In the second trimester, you should continue to follow the guidelines of the first trimester, along with any exercise that:

  • Places you on your back
  • Makes you dizzy or faint
  • Gives you headaches
  • Causes contractions
  • Causes calf pain or swelling

Exercises to Avoid During Third Trimester

Congratulations! You’re almost done. Soon your baby will be in your arms and you’ll be cross-country skiing again in no time. Just not for the next few months. ;) While you’re at it, here are a few more activities you must avoid until after pregnancy.

  • Any contact sports (boxing, soccer, basketball, roller derby, etc.)
  • Activities with a high risk of falling (skiing of any kind, surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, and horseback riding)
  • Scuba diving
  • Skydiving
  • Hot yoga or hot Pilates

In the third trimester, you should continue to avoid the restrictions from the first/second trimesters, and also avoid any activity that gives you

  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness that affects your balance

In Closing

Pregnancy is a time to be enjoyed, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help make your pregnancy and birth a positive experience. Make sure to talk to your health care provider about any cares, concerns, or questions you may have prior to starting an exercise routine.


**Christine Santos resides in sunny Florida with her husband and 3 girls. She is the owner of Sun State Doulas and plays roller derby in her free time. Christine is passionate about women, childbirth, and parenting.

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