Absolute Nos for Pregnancy and Postpartum in the Gym

It was brought to my attention that our blog doesn’t specifically state absolutely “DO NOT DO THESE MOVEMENTS DURING PREGNANCY or POSTPARTUM.”  If you’re an athlete working with a BIRTHFIT Regional Director or BIRTHFIT Coach, you’re covered. If you’re following BIRTHFIT Prenatal Programming or any of our BIRTHFIT Postpartum Programs, you’re covered.  It is ideal for you to utilize these resources, but in the event that you choose to do your own thing (but still follow the BIRTHFIT blog), you’ll have this information available.

It’s crucial that as an athlete who is in the Motherhood Transition (from preconception through at least the first year postpartum), you recognize these movements because it’s crucial that you honor the physical state of your body as it is either growing and preparing or healing and processing.

My intention in this blog is not to give you all of the science, research, or even reasoning behind why you need to avoid these movements, but simply to make sure that when you Google “what exercises to avoid during pregnancy” or “what should I not do at the gym postpartum”, you’ll have some information come up that isn’t bogus.

BIRTHFIT’s movement recommendations for pregnancy and postpartum are based on developmental kinesiology and as such are attempting to create a stable core.  

There are a few absolute nos during the Motherhood Transition in relation to movement and fitness.  These include any movement that creates coning of the abdomen or creates pelvic floor discomfort or dysfunction (such as leaking urine).  Additionally, any movements or exercise that cause pain or discomfort in the body should be avoided.


Movements to Avoid During Pregnancy and Postpartum

  • Kipping, crunches, sit-ups, extended period of planks, toes to bar (including the modification of knees to elbows), mountain climbers, v-ups, L-sits.
  • As soon as the following movements become inappropriate (form is compromised), uncomfortable, or cause symptoms (including non-painful coning of the abdomen), AND for at least the first 12-16 weeks postpartum, avoid:
    • Burpees, jump rope (double or single unders), running, box jumps.
  • As soon as the bar path is impeded (usually in the early second trimester), avoid olympic lifts (snatch, clean).
    • We recommend establishing a solid core foundation before re-introducing these complex and explosive barbell movements – usually 12-16 weeks.

Accessories to Avoid

  • Wraps, belts, bands, lifting shoes at least for the first 6-9 months postpartum, but ideally the first year. Stabilize with your own body.  

If you are looking for appropriate movements to do, you can peruse our BIRTHFIT YouTube channel, grab one of our programs, set up a consultation with one of our BIRTHFIT leaders, or connect in person with a BIRTHFIT Regional Director, BIRTHFIT Coach, or BIRTHFIT Professional near you.  

Additional note: If you are a coach of any sort or a mama simply looking to get informed, you need to get to the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar.  The course covers the necessary information for working with athletes through the Motherhood Transition; much more than simple fitness modifications.  If you do not coach women, but are a professional working with this population, get yourself to the BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar ASAP.


Lindsay Mumma, DC

BIRTHFIT COO & Editor in Chief



Further reading for you to enjoy:

Diastasis Rectus – Navigating the Ins & Outs: Part 1 Diastasis Rectus – Navigating the Ins & Outs: Part 2 – The Causes Diastasis Rectus – Navigating the Ins & Outs: Part 3 – Preventing & Treating a DRA Postpartum Lifting Modifications for Diastasis Recti Must I pee when I sneeze?  

Second Trimester BIRTHFIT Lifting Modifications  


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