Expecting a baby is an exciting yet delicate time for many women.

While staying active during pregnancy is often recommended, certain exercises can potentially pose risks, including inducing a miscarriage.

It’s important to be informed about these activities to ensure the safety of both mother and baby. Here are 5 exercises that may increase the risk of miscarriage.

1. Heavy weightlifting: Risk of Placental Abruption

Heavy lifting can be a potential hazard during pregnancy. Lifting weights that are too heavy increases intra-abdominal pressure, which may lead to placental abruption—a serious condition where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. Heavy lifting during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage and preterm labour. It’s recommended to avoid lifting objects heavier than 10 kilograms to minimise these risks.

2. High-impact aerobics: Strain on the uterus

High-impact aerobics, such as running, jumping, or intense cardio sessions, can put undue strain on the uterus and the supporting muscles and ligaments. Research from the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine indicates that women who engaged in high-impact exercises had a higher likelihood of experiencing uterine contractions, which can lead to miscarriage, especially in the first trimester. Go for low-impact alternatives like swimming or prenatal yoga to stay fit without compromising safety

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3. ​Contact sports: Direct trauma risks

Contact sports like basketball, cricket, and boxing pose significant risks of direct trauma to the abdomen, which can be harmful to the developing fetus. According to a study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, physical trauma from contact sports is a leading cause of miscarriage in the early and mid stages of pregnancy. Pregnant women must avoid activities where there’s a high risk of falls or abdominal impact.

4. ​High-intensity interval training (HIIT): Excessive physical stress

While HIIT is popular for its efficiency in burning calories and building strength, its high-intensity nature can be too strenuous during pregnancy. The British Journal of Sports Medicine highlights that excessive physical exertion, especially when performed regularly, can increase the risk of miscarriage due to the stress it places on the body. Pregnant women should instead consider moderate-intensity exercises like walking or light stretching.

5. ​Hot yoga: Risks of overheating

Hot yoga, practised in a heated environment, can lead to hyperthermia (overheating), which poses risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. A study in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine suggests that exposure to high temperatures can lead to an increased risk of neural tube defects and miscarriage. It’s safer to go for regular yoga that is practised in a cool, well-ventilated room to avoid these hazards.

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