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10th Jun 2023

Ten exercises to avoid during pregnancy – from skiing to horseback riding

Sophie Collins

Exercising while pregnant

Figuring out whether or not you can exercise extensively during pregnancy can be a minefield for both first-time and experienced mums.

Every pregnancy is different, and it’s imperative that you talk to your healthcare provider if you plan on doing any strenuous forms of exercise.

You should make sure that your GP or another qualified doctor gives you the all-clear to continue exercising, going to the gym, or playing certain sports while you are pregnant.

There are some sports you’ll want to avoid simply because they can put you at a higher risk of injury.

According to Summa Health, the hormones that are released during pregnancy cause your ligaments to relax, which increases your chance of injury.

This, coupled with the extra weight at the front of your body, means your centre of gravity will be shifted and you can easily lose your balance and fall.

Experts also advise that pregnant women avoid exercises that require them to lie flat on their back for a long period of time.

The weight of a growing baby can put pressure on the main vein that carries blood back to the heart from the lower body.

Exercising pregnant

Credit: Getty ImagesFor these reasons, many health providers recommend pregnant people avoid:

  • Contact sports like soccer, volleyball and basketball
  • Exercises that put you at risk for falling, such as downhill skiing, off-road cycling and gymnastics
  • Activities that force you to bounce heavily, such as horseback riding
  • Scuba diving, which could put your baby at risk of decompression sickness
  • Exercises that put you at higher risk of getting hit in the abdomen, such as kickboxing or ice hockey
  • High-altitude activities

No matter which exercises you and your healthcare provider agree on, you should remember to drink plenty of water in order to avoid overheating and dehydration.

A good rule of thumb for knowing when you’re doing too much is if you can’t talk while exercising, you’re doing it too strenuously.

Regular light exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy while building strength and stamina for the challenges ahead.


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