Exercises to Avoid During First Trimester
Pregnancy is a time when women need to take extra care of their bodies. Exercising during pregnancy can be a great way to stay healthy and prepare for childbirth. However, during the first trimester of pregnancy, there are certain exercises that you should avoid. In this article, we will discuss some key points to consider when exercising during your first trimester of pregnancy.
- Exercise in High Heat/Humidity
It is essential to avoid exercising in high heat or humidity during the first trimester of pregnancy. High temperatures can cause dehydration and may lead to overheating, which can be harmful to the developing fetus. Exercising in a well-ventilated room or in air conditioning is a safer option.
- Exercise that Poses Risk of Abdominal Trauma
Exercises that can cause abdominal trauma, such as contact sports or activities that involve jumping or sudden changes in direction, should be avoided during the first trimester. The developing fetus is not yet protected by the pelvic bone and may be more susceptible to injury.
- Prone Position
During the first trimester of pregnancy, you should avoid exercises that require you to lie face down or in a prone position. This position can put pressure on the uterus, reducing blood flow to the fetus.
Overstretching during the first trimester can be harmful to the developing fetus. Hormonal changes (lots of relaxin in your bloodstream) during pregnancy can make your joints and ligaments more flexible, increasing the risk of injury.
- Breath-holding upon Exertion
Breath-holding during exercise can cause a rapid increase in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for the developing fetus. It is essential to avoid holding your breath during exercise, especially when lifting weights or performing strength-training exercises.
- Any Movement that Causes Coning or Leaking
During the first trimester, it is important to avoid any exercise that causes coning or leaking. Coning is when the muscles of the abdomen bulge outward, indicating a separation of the abdominal muscles. Leaking is the involuntary loss of urine during exercise.
Exercises to Avoid During Second Trimester
(plus all of the above)
During pregnancy, the body undergoes changes that put extra pressure on the core, which makes it important to avoid certain core exercises. These changes include an increase in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and shifts in alignment. The increase in IAP pushes the abdominal wall outward and causes the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscle to spread further apart, leading to Diastasis Recti (DR). The growing belly also tends to tip one’s pelvis forward, compressing the tissues in the low back and stretching the abdominal tissues. This makes it crucial to avoid or modify certain types of core exercises. These include spinal flexion, lateral flexion, spinal extension, twisting, full planks, advanced back-lying or incline core work, and breath-holding upon exertion. By following these guidelines, pregnant women can maintain a strong core without putting undue stress on their bodies.
- Spinal Flexion (Crunching)
- Spinal Extension (Arching)
- Twisting (Rotation with Disassociation of Hips and Shoulders)
- Advanced Supine/Incline Core Work (Leg Lifts, V-Sits, etc.)
- Ballistic single leg moves
- Full planks (center & side)
- High impact
Exercises to Avoid During Third Trimester (plus all of the above)
- Exertion in supine. During the third trimester of pregnancy, it’s important to avoid exerting oneself while lying flat on the back for prolonged periods. This is because the weight of the growing uterus can put pressure on the vena cava, the main vein that returns blood to the heart, potentially reducing blood flow to the baby.
- Front-loaded moves. These types of exercises should be avoided during the third trimester of pregnancy as your belly is already going to pull you forward, therefore it will be even harder to maintain a neutral alignment.
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