There’s no doubt that there are health benefits for people who exercise. For women who are pregnant, however, some of the benefits of exercise may come as a surprise. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some of these benefits can include increased energy, improved mood and a reduction in bloating, constipation and backaches. Still, there are exercises to be avoided while pregnant, in part due to the many physical changes that pregnancy brings.
When you’re not pregnant, contact sports can provide an enjoyable venue for exercise. However, contact sports carry a risk of physical contact and injury to you or your baby and should be avoided during pregnancy. Examples of contact sports include soccer, basketball and ice hockey.
Exercises on Back
Exercises that are performed while lying on your back should be avoided after the first trimester, or 12 weeks of pregnancy. Examples of these exercises include sit-ups and leg lifts.
High Risk Exercises
Some venues for exercise carry a risk of falling and being injured. When pregnant, your sense of balance can become altered, increasing your risk of losing your balance and falling. These exercises include downhill skiing, horseback riding, water skiing, surfing, gymnastics, skateboarding, exercising on inline skates and off-road bicycling. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also suggests that if you aren’t accustomed to exercising via racquet sports, jogging and strength training prior to becoming pregnant, it would be wise to avoid these activities, although they are appropriate if done in moderation for women accustomed to them before becoming pregnant.
Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, it’s wise to stay away from exercises, or actually any activities, that include bouncing or jarring, which is any activity that includes many up-and-down movements such as jumping jacks, according to Kids Health. Other exercises that include leaping, sudden changes of direction and any activity during which there is a risk of abdominal injury should be avoided. Scuba diving should also be avoided.