Complete Guide to Sports During Pregnancy

As pleasant as the experience of pregnancy for expectant mothers may be, the big belly is a huge burden for the body. Not only that, the extra weight highly stresses the joints. Additionally, many pregnant women struggle with the changes of her body, which can’t always be completely reversed after birth.

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Sports during pregnancy can be helpful, because staying active in appropriate sports can help with stretch marks, thrombosis and also reduce weight gain. Regular exercise can even improve the overall health status of women, as well as free them from complications during delivery. Here are the types of exercise that are safe and cope well with a baby bump, and some others that you should avoid!

How long are sports possible in pregnancy?

In general, for most healthy and active women, you can play sports up to the last trimester of pregnancy without issues. However, make sure that you do not overextend while exercising. Stop if it doesn’t feel right. It is recommended for the entire pregnancy a workout time of 30 minutes, which may be repeated after sufficient rest. Make sure your heart rate does not exceed 140 beats per minute.

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What sports are suitable for pregnant women?

Moderate endurance sports are most appropriate for pregnant women, since they work muscles, but do not overwhelm. Activities that involve stretching exercises for pelvis and muscles are also recommended. Some great activities to do during pregnancy are Biking , Swimming ,Walking, Pilates, yoga , Gymnastics.

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If you are among those pregnant women who was very athletic before your pregnancy, there is no reason that you need to stop your usual training schedule. However, it is advisable not to exaggerate your workouts, running or weight training.

Tip: Particularly useful is a combination of cardio and sport during pregnancy. This type of training can help prepare expectant mothers for the heavy labor in birth.

Good exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles:

Kegels: Flex the muscles of your pelvic floor, as you would if you needed to hold back urine. Hold this for about 5 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times. The process may seem overly simple, but if performed several times a day, this can strengthen the elasticity of the pelvic floor  and will greatly facilitate birth.

Which sports are not suitable during pregnancy?

For obvious reasons, sports which exert extreme shock effects on the abdomen of women are not advisable during pregnancy. If a sporting activity also involves falling or collision risks, it is entirely unsuitable for pregnant women, because sudden shocks can put the health of unborn children, as well as their mothers, at significant risk. The same applies to sports with a high risk of injury and movements that require rotations.

Here are some examples of sports that are NOT recommended during pregnancy:

  • Fast moving team sports
  • Martial Arts
  • Extreme sports
  • Skiing
  • Horseback riding
  • Inline skating

When choosing your activity, it’s important to consider the amount of pressure it puts on your joints. Hormonal changes of the female body and the additional weight gain from pregnancy adds additional load to your joints. Running and jumping intensive sports may damage the movement and posture irreparably during pregnancy.

Avoid abdominal exercises in the last trimester of pregnancy. In the last trimester of pregnancy subjects the abdomen of pregnant women to large stress. There remain only a few weeks until labour, and the stomach and abdominal muscles gradually prepare for birthing the child. Exercises such as sit ups or crunches that can exhaust the abdomen should not be done.

Mini sit-ups as an alternative to strenuous abdominal exercises:

Lie down gently on your back and slide a soft pillow under the hips. Angle knees and Breath deeply in and out. Breathe out and flex your abs. Lift your head, shoulders, and arms slowly towards your knees, then exhale to rest. This is a great exercise for the morning and evening, to repeat ten times. Mini sit-ups support posture and strengthen muscles needed for pushing during childbirth.

Things to Note About Sports during pregnancy

Whether pregnant or not – warm ups and regular breaks between individual workouts are necessary. Stretch during pregnancy it to loosen up muscles sufficiently, and to rest after the exercises.

Stretching exercises during pregnancy, particularly in the area of the pelvic muscles, are very useful for the upcoming birth. Over-stretching, however, can lead to muscle strains and injuries. Everything should be done in moderation.

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Make sure that you do not hold postures that provide discomfort or cramping muscles when playing sports during pregnancy. If so, stop immediately.

Overheating and dehydration should be avoided in sports during pregnancy. Drink sufficient water accordingly, and if doing vigorous exercises, pay attention to increases in body temperature.

Conclusion

Exercise is not only allowed for expectant mothers, but also conducive to the course of pregnancy and birth. However, pregnant women should ensure a moderate level of exertion and steer clear of danger from some select exercises.

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Jenny Jolly
Jenny Jolly has over five years of experience in the field of Health. She specializes in setting up Global health consultancy. She is an expert in the area of developing strategies for health. She provides thought leadership and pursues strategies for engagements with the senior executives on Innovation in health and Technology She presently works for www.whenmorningsicknessstart.co.uk as The Head of the health consultancy.