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Sport during pregnancy

6 March 2012
Sport during pregnancy
Sport during pregnancy

© Thinkstock

It all depends on the stage of pregnancy and your previous level of physical activity. During the first trimester, you can continue with pretty much any sport, but over the next two trimesters, you’ll need to be more careful.

If you’ve never been sporty before, then this is certainly not the right time to take it up in a big way with some far-fetched idea of keeping a top figure throughout the pregnancy. Useless and dangerous!

However, if you are used to a particular sporting activity, you can generally continue with it, if:

  • Your chosen sport is not too violent on your body (wrestling, gymnastics…);
  • You are having a healthy pregnancy, with no particular medical complications;

Your doctor gives their go-ahead.

Recommended sports during pregnancy…

The most highly recommended sports during pregnancy are walking and swimming. Walking is good as it can be done by those with no previous sporting activity, and that too, throughout the entire pregnancy. It helps keep the pelvis muscles moving, thereby facilitating the birth process by keeping you in good shape. Swimming is good as it is relaxing, increases cardiac capacity and helps relieve joint pain caused by the extra weight of baby on your body. Most pools offer special pregnancy swim and light water aerobics classes…

Light aerobics out of the water are also okay and can be associated with pre-natal classes. If you want to work out a bit, go more for 3 20-minute sessions a week rather than a more rigourous full hour session. And even if you are at home, don’t forget to warm up for a few minutes before beginning your exercise routine. And avoid any excessive stretching or abrupt movements.

Some women like to continue with moderate dance, yoga or cycling, but obviously your burgeoning bump will prevent you from doing most yoga poses and the cycling during the third trimester.

Forbidden sports during pregnancy

On the other hand, there are loads of sports that should be avoided from the end of the 1st trimester, in particular those sports that carry a risk of falls, such as skiing, skating, horse-riding. Also to avoided, all sports that expose you to possible bumps to the tummy, such team ball sports, judo….

Tennis and jogging at not at all recommended either, as they causes quite strong shakes and jolts as well as causing all sorts of sprains. Then of course, looking at things sensibly, it should be obvious that all high thrill sports are to be avoided completely… so no mountain climbing, deep sea diving, hang-gliding etc. for you during the pregnancy!

Precautions for pregnancy sport

  • You will of course avoid and sudden movements and excessive strain on your joints, which are more fragile during pregnancy.
  • Obviously, you will rest more often than before, and will not exercise when the weather is hot.
  • You’ll also keep in mind your balanced diet, with sufficient potassium to avoid muscle cramps, which are more frequent during pregnancy.
  • You will no doubt make sure to always have your bottle of water close at hand to avoid any risk of dehydration.

What results can you expect from sport during pregnancy?

The benefits of physical activity during pregnancy are numerous:

  • Keeping the abdominal muscles in tone;
  • Improvement of blood circulation;
  • Increase of capacity for endurance;
  • Improved psychological wellbeing;
  • Different studies have also shown that a sporting activity during pregnancy facilitates the birth process, by improving respiratory function;
  • It has also been noted that women who’ve remained physically active during pregnancy are less prone to Caesarean births.

So are you convinced yet?

Dr Corinne Tutin

More information:
Stay active for a fit pregnancy
Exercise: good for you and baby
Nutrition discussions

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