Pregnancy and Sports
Pregnancy and sports is a discussion of the safety of various
strenuous sports during the 40 weeks of pregnancy. It provides the pregnant woman with ways to maintain exercise during pregnancy.
What is the information for this topic?
Pregnancy is not a good time to start a new, strenuous sport. If a woman
already participates in a sport before she becomes pregnant, then the questions
become: What is safe to continue? How much is too much?
Sports safety guidelines during pregnancyAvoid sports that have a strong risk of falling. Some sports are hazardous
during pregnancy because of the risks of falling. The amniotic fluid cushions
the baby well, but the force of an impact may cause the placenta to separate
from the uterus. This very serious condition, known as placenta abruptio, could cause the death of the baby or a
dangerous loss of blood from the mother. Pregnancy is no time to take up
mountain climbing or skydiving. A woman should also avoid horseback riding,
water-skiing and surfing, and bike riding on a wet pavement or windy path.
Avoid sports that create internal body pressure changes, such as scuba
Snow skiing has several possible hazards, including the risk of injury. At
very high altitudes, the air is thinner, which makes it harder to breathe. This
can deprive both the mother and the fetus of oxygen. A ski machine is okay to
Swimming is great for a pregnant woman because it uses many different
muscles while the water supports her weight. She should not to dive or jump
into the water during the later months of pregnancy, however.
Jogging can be done in moderation. A woman should avoid becoming
overheated. She should stop if she is uncomfortable or unusually tired. She
should also drink plenty of water to replace what she loses through
Aerobics is good to strengthen the heart and lungs. A pregnant woman should
only do the low impact version. Water aerobics combines the advantages of
swimming and aerobics.
Tennis is generally safe during pregnancy. A woman should be aware that her
sense of balance may change.
Golf and bowling are fine for recreation but they don't really strengthen
the heart and lungs. With both of these sports, a woman may have to adjust to
her change in balance.
Body-building and strength training can make muscles stronger. It can also
help prevent the muscle aches and pains that are common in pregnancy. Strength
training should be done under the supervision of an expert to avoid muscle and
General guidelines for participating in sports during pregnancyA woman should dress for the occasion. She should wear clothes that are
loose or that stretch during exercise. Fabrics should also let the body
breathe. Well-fitting running shoes or well-cushioned sneakers will protect the
joints if a woman chooses to jog or run. This is especially important in
pregnancy because the hormonal changes loosen the ligaments in the body and
increases the risk of injury.
A woman should train in moderation. She should never workout to the point
of exhaustion during pregnancy. The chemical by-products of exhaustion are not
safe for the fetus. This applies even to the highly trained athlete. A woman
should listen to her body signals, such as pain or cramping. Uterine
contractions, lightheadedness, dizziness, bleeding, nausea, or
headache are also signs that a woman is overdoing it.
Strenuous exercise that can raise a pregnant woman's temperature more than
1-1/2 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous. This is because blood is
shunted away from the uterus to the skin as the body attempts to reduce its
A pregnant woman should also avoid saunas, steam rooms, or hot tubs.
A woman should avoid sprinting. This requires too much oxygen too quickly.
A woman should stay off her back. Her enlarged uterus could compress a
major blood vessel.
A woman should gradually reduce her level of exercise in the third trimester of pregnancy.