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  • Writer's pictureErin White

Common Exercise Regressions During Pregnancy

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In a previous post I addressed myths and facts about exercising during pregnancy (check it out here) and about how important it is to stay active throughout pregnancy as long as it’s safe. There are many moves that are involved in exercise that can cause difficulties throughout pregnancy BUT that doesn’t mean they can’t be done!

During pregnancy our bodies go through a lot of changes. I’ll address a few of the major systems and their changes below:

The cardiovascular system – blood volume increases throughout pregnancy, resting heart rate increases up to 15-20 BPM, and cardiac output increases 30-50%. It’s very important to avoid supine hypotensive syndrome, this is when laying on your back the uterus compresses on the inferior vena cava and can compress the aorta causing adverse side effects.

The respiratory system – increased edema to the upper respiratory tract, progesterone and relaxin cause ligaments to relax around the sternum and ribs, and oxygen consumption increases 30%. It’s very important to continue to practice good breathing techniques through exercises!

The musculoskeletal system -- increase in body mass, abdominal muscle lengthening, increase in lumbar lordosis, center of gravity shifts anteriorly, and increase in joint laxity. Virtually all women experience some sort of musculoskeletal discomfort throughout pregnancy.

Some reasons why exercise might need to be modified or regressed during pregnancy are:

-Pelvic pain

-Urinary incontinence from stress

-Weight gain


-Bulging feeling in the vaginal opening

Usually exercise can be slightly modified during trimester 1, but there are some movements to avoid during T1 and throughout pregnancy really and those include (but aren’t limited to): twisting or compressing your abdomen, adding additional stress to the spine, lying flat on your back (mainly after T1), and anything that could make you lose your balance/fall.

I’m going to cover a few exercises, why you’d regress, and how to regress them throughout your pregnancy!

Squat – If you’re having SI joint or pelvic girdle pain, feeling pressure on your pelvic floor, or are noticing coning/doming in the abdomen you might need to regress or modify your squats. Some modifications of the squat are to:

· Decrease the depth and load of the squat

· Perform a box/chair squat

· Perform proper breathing techniques to ensure a tightened core

Burpee – If you’re getting uncomfortable with your baby bump hitting the floor, the high impact is causing an increase in HR/dizziness, or you’re noticing coning/doming while hitting the high plank you might consider modifying/regressing your burpee. Some modifications of the burpee are to:

· Lessen the range -- take out the full body to ground movement

· Step it out

· Use a bench or couch to lessen the cardiovascular output

Deadlift – If your belly is starting to affect your form and lumbar stability, you start to feel pelvic pressure/heaviness, or you start to compensate by arching your back causing increase stress on the abdominals you might need to regress or modify your deadlift. Some modifications of the deadlift are to:

· Bring the bar or weights closer to you to start

· Perform a sumo deadlift to put less stress on the abdominals

· Widen your feet

Plank – If your belly is starting to cone/dome, your noticing increased lumbar lordosis, or you start to feel increased shortness of breath it’s time to start regressing/modifying your planks. Some modifications of the plank are to:

· Perform a paloff press

· Standing side bends

· Sidelying plank

· Practice TA activation

There are so many exercises that you might find you need to modify throughout pregnancy so don’t hesitate to do so! If you have questions on how to go about regressing or if you need to please don’t hesitate to contact me! I’ve been learning so much already in my CEU course and I would be happy to help keep you and your babe safe and active. Please as always, consult your OB/physician if you have questions or concerns about exercising during pregnancy and stop immediately if you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or short of breath!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a wife to my amazing husband Zach and a momma to an angel baby and now a beautiful baby boy. I am an anxiety warrior, a follower of Christ, and a devoted wife, mother, daughter, friend, and sister.

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