woman attached to rope for mountain climbing

What's a risky exercise during pregnancy?

Though moms-to-be do need to stay active to best facilitate Baby’s healthy growth and development, not all pregnancy exercises were created equal. It’s important to understand the difference between safe, and not-so-safe exercise so that you make your exercise beneficial for Baby, and not put her at risk.

What makes an exercise risky?

When evaluating an exercise for pregnancy-risk, there are a few important criteria to consider:

  • Did I do this exercise before I was pregnant? Healthcare providers advise pregnant women to avoid any exercises that they did not do before they were pregnant, so as to avoid a mistake of inexperience.
  • Is there a high risk of physical contact, collision, or falling? Moms-to-be should avoid any sports or exercises where there is a significant chance of contact or falling.
  • Am I overexerting myself? Staying active is all about staying healthy, so it doesn’t make sense to work out so hard that you are putting yourself and Baby at risk.

What are some risky exercises?

  • Extreme sports: Action sports like downhill skiing, snowboarding, surfing, and rock climbing are, like all other exercises that are new to you, unwise to participate in during pregnancy. If you live to ride the barrel or scale walls, you should make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before engaging in any extreme sports, and even if given clearance, take every precaution to keep Baby safe.
  • Contact sports: Pregnant women should definitely stay away from contact sports like football, basketball, and rugby when they are pregnant, so as to avoid any possible damage to baby’s development.
  • Sports of height: Moms-to-be should definitely avoid any sports that require putting a great bit of space between their feet and the ground - horseback riding, gymnastics, and outdoor biking included. Some activities may be safe with an expert background, a healthcare provider's clearance, and every precaution, but activities that make a fall more dangerous should probably be avoided.

The bottom line

Getting enough exercise during pregnancy is a great way to stay as healthy as possible for you and Baby, but it’s important that the risks of your exercise do not outweigh the benefits, so it’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about any exercise you wish to do when you’ve got a bun in your oven.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • "Pregnancy and exercise." Better Health Channel. Better Health Channel, 11/14/2015. Web.
  • Committee on Obstetric Practice. "Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: Committee Opinion Number 267." ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1/2/2015. Web.
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