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What Exercises Should You Not Do When Pregnant?

By Rachel Nall ; Updated June 13, 2017

If you were physically active before pregnancy or wish to start a gentle exercise program during your pregnancy, you may be curious what limitations your growing baby may place on your body. While most exercises can be performed during pregnancy, there are some that may be too high impact or that affect your baby’s blood supply. Although you should speak with your physician before beginning any pregnancy exercise program, general exercise guidelines during pregnancy can guide you to safe exercises.

General Restrictions

Several types of exercise should be avoided as a rule while you are pregnant to minimize risk to your baby. These include exercises that are bouncing or jarring. Running may be an exception, however, if you were a runner before becoming pregnant and are familiar with how to run with a smooth gait. Leaping exercises should be avoided as well as those that cause you to change direction suddenly as this increases your risk for falling. Any exercise that has the potential for you to incur an abdominal hit also should be avoided. If you experience symptoms like pain, difficulty breathing or bleeding, cease exercising immediately.

Muscle-Toning Exercises

As you progress in your pregnancy, your growing baby begins to place extra pressure on your arteries, which can affect your sleeping position and exercise routine. After your third month of pregnancy, you should avoid exercises such as abdominal crunches that involve lying flat on your back. Inverted poses like upside-down bicycles, hand or shoulder stands and the downward dog yoga position also should be avoided. Deep-knee bends and back bends also place too much strain on the body and should be avoided.


Sports that involve impact and potential falling risk should be avoided during pregnancy including skiing and horseback riding. Soccer, basketball and football also increase injury and impact risk and should be avoided.

Medical Conditions and Exercise

Some conditions or health complications during pregnancy may prevent you from exercising altogether. These include a history of cervical insufficiency, placenta previa, bleeding in your second or third trimester, high blood pressure or anemia. Those individuals with heart or lung disease also should avoid exercise during pregnancy to reduce the risk for miscarriage or delivery complications. Your physician should address any individual conditions with you that may affect yours and your baby’s health.

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