Can you do Handstands during Pregnancy?
Handstands while pregnant: here's everything that you need to know...
If you ask this question, most people will tell you a resounding NO, and many of my trainees have told me that they were told to stop in their pregnancies... but like the proper answer to all good questions, it starts with "it depends". And a few more questions...
Here are a few things to consider about handstands while pregnant:
Were you doing handstands before pregnancy? 👐 This definitely isn't the time to start, but if you're already confidently doing handstands, know how to fall (this is the most important part), feel confident upside down, don't feel at all dizzy, do it regularly and enjoy it - I would say that it's a shame to stop doing it. - How pregnant are you? And how big is the belly?
Pregnancy is a continuum - when you get pregnant, you don't have to suddenly STOP doing all handstands - you'll likely be able to continue doing handstand with no problem throughout your first trimester.
As you start to show, it may be harder to balance. Here's my towards the end of my first trimester, getting a bit wobbly...
A little over a month later, and the handstand situation had deteriorated somewhat to this:
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If you're worried about "damaging" your core during pregnancy or aren't sure what's safe, you might find my Core Basics for Pregnancy Course helpful - it's free and you can sign up below.
Back to the pregnancy handstand questions....
Does being upside down while pregnant feel good?
👐 Some women feel dizzy upside down. Or maybe you just don't feel comfortable with it now you're pregnant. Totally legitimate reasons to stop.
Do you have any pain doing handstands while pregnant?
👐 Do your wrists hurt? Do you have a pain in your neck? Is the kickup starting to feel like you're going to tweak something?
I stopped doing handstands altogether around 6 months - and it wasn't so much a balance issue as the kicking up part of the movement felt too explosive - it didn't feel right once I had a belly, as though I could pull something. (I continued doing headstands into the 9th month though).
Do you WANT to do handstands while pregnant? 👐 Even if you CAN but you don't want to for any reason, you shouldn't. It's not necessary. There are plenty of other things you can do (that are more suited to pregnancy fitness). The point is if a woman DOES feel controlled, and good and ENJOYS doing handstands, she will probably be fine to continue for some time into her pregnancy.
This blog post isn't to say "do handstands while pregnant" - it's to explore where and when and for whom it's safe. Honestly, it isn't the most preggo-friendly exercise, but it might be right for some women for all of, or some of their pregnancy.
Let's finish the post with some myth busting around the common questions...
Is it safe to be upside down while pregnant? ❌ It is not dangerous. One does not simply fall on one's belly (if one practices handstands regularly). One learns how to fall and you fall in a very predictable way. Again, don't try to learn this skill in pregnancy because you probably WILL fall... but if you've already learnt how to do it, you can carry on.
❌Handstands do not raise the heart rate that much, and even if they did, this isn't as much of an issue as we once thought for TRAINED women.
❌ There is also nothing wrong with doing handstands on your period. If you want to. Again, if you don't want to do inversions for any reason at that time of the month, you shouldn't.
❌ You can do it during your first trimester. It will not increase risk of miscarriage. (On that note you can do exercise in general during your first trimester). But again, if you don't WANT to, you don't need any excuse other than "it doesn't FEEL right for ME" This post won't be relevant for everyone, but if you love handstands and WANT to do them and fit all the above criteria, you can do them.
Hi, I'm Jen Curtis, I'm a Pregnancy and Postpartum Fitness Specialist who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies in a sustainable way.
Join her Strong Pregnancy online programme for safe AND effective pregnancy workouts - I want to keep you as active as possible during pregnancy, doing REAL workouts that you LOVE.
I am also the creator of The Complete Postpartum Programme, I'm well-known for my no-BS approach, my dedication to facts, science and evidence and for debunking myths around nutrition and exercise.
Join me on Instagram for more pregnancy and postpartum fun and myth-busting.