Google+

Guidelines for Sport Specific Exercise During Pregnancy



When choosing sport specific exercise during pregnancy, it is important to evaluate the risk of falling. Falling may disrupt the placenta, putting the pregnancy at risk. Any sports injury you sustain will be difficult to evaluate and treat because diagnostic tools such as x-rays are out of the question, your physical therapist will be limited in terms of what modalities s/he can use, and surgeries are too risky.

Weight Lifting

  • Fitness goals at this time should focus on maintenance as apposed to gaining strength.
  • Use lighter weights, repetitions in the order of 15 to 20
  • Avoid the valsalva maneuver (breath is held while bearing down) as this increases blood pressure and intra abdominal pressure, thereby decreasing oxygen to the fetus
  • Avoid walking lunges as this can strain the joints of the pelvis
  • Don't lift weights while lying on your back as this will compress the inferior vena cava, reducing blood return to the heart, lowering your blood pressure, and therefore affect oxygen supply to the fetus. Use an incline bench.
  • If you feel muscle or joint strain, fatigue, or dizziness, stop and modify what your doing
  • Use slow and controlled movements. The hormone relaxin affects the strength and elasticity of connective tissues so quick jerky movements could cause serious injury
  • Avoid standing and lifting weights during your third trimester as your blood pressure may drop
  • Go over your exercise routine with your physical therapist and family physician to make sure you are not at risk and you perform the exercises with good technique.
  • Never hold your breath as this will decrease blood flow to the baby.
  • If you have a history of miscarriage or pregnancy complications your physician may suggest you avoid weight lifting.
  • Lifting heavy weights should be avoided, except under proper prescription and supervision.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy.

Bicycling

  • Experienced cyclists may continue into their second trimester but watch that a shifting centre of gravity may make you less stable.
  • Now is not the time to take up cycling for the first time.
  • Raising your handle bars may make for a more comfortable position.
  • Avoid off road riding.
  • A stationary bicycle may be a safer choice.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy and bicycling.

Skiing and Snowboarding

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend avoiding skiing at anytime during pregnancy due to the risk of falls and serious injuries. Balance is reduced and ligaments and joints are more prone to injury.

Horseback Riding

  • The ACOG recommends against this activity due to the risk of serious falls.


Scuba Diving

  • There is no good data showing that hyperbaric pressure harms the fetus but, the risk of decompression sickness makes this activity far too risky for the fetus.
  • Developing babies may have difficulty decompressing as you rise to the surface and may cause birth defects or preterm birth

Gymnastics

  •  Reduced balance and trunk control in the second trimester makes this too difficult to do safely.

Tennis

  • If you played tennis before you were pregnant then continue into the first trimester. In the second and third trimesters you may find it too difficult with the added weight, and laxity in the ligaments of the lower extremities may cause knee pain during sudden stops and starts and lunges.
  • Be aware of your change in balance and how it affects your movements.
  • Decrease the aggressiveness of play to avoid falls and sprains.
  • Consider wearing a maternity support after the 5th month
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy.

Water skiing

  • The risk of falling and trauma to the abdomen or vagina make this a very high risk activity to be avoided.

Contact Sports

  • Avoid activities where there is a high risk of collision with other players, risk of falls, or risk of being hit by a ball, puck or stick.

Walking

  • Walking is a great way to stay active while pregnant. If you weren't active prior to becoming pregnant then this is a great way to start an exercise program.

Jogging

  • If you are a jogger, you can probably continue as long as you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Stop if you become overheated, drink plenty of water and stop if you feel discomfort or unusually tired.
  • Your shoes should be replaced at least every three months.
  • Jog in the cooler part of the day.
  • Consider wearing a maternity support after the 5th month
  • Take water with you.
  • Stay within a 15 minute radius of home.
  • Jog on a softer surface if available to lessen the impact.
  • Avoid strenuous hills or sprinting.
  • Do not let your heart rate exceed 150 (140 if you are over 40).
  • Take plenty of time to cool down.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding running and sport specific exercise during pregnancy.

Swimming

  • If you swim, then continue to swim.
  • The buoyancy of the water helps support your weight while the water resistance to movement helps tone and strengthen muscles.
  • Do not dive or jump in the water.
  • Avoid extreme water temperatures.
  • Give yourself lots of room so that you are not kicked.
  • Keep water with you. You can dehydrate even though you are surrounded by water.
  • Avoid flip turns if they are uncomfortable or cause dizziness.
  • Never stop breathing.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy and swimming.

Golf

  • If you are a golfer, continue to golf provided you are comfortable doing so. You will likely have to flatten your swing plane and slow down your swing due to shifting centre of gravity, expanding abdomen and weakening trunk musculature.
  • Avoid the hotter part of the day.
  • Keep well hydrated.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy and golf.

Hiking

  • Unless you live at this altitude, avoid exercising above 10,000 feet due to falling oxygen pressure. Exertion above this altitude can affect oxygen supply to the fetus.
  • Make sure your shoes fit comfortably.
  • Consider wearing a maternity support after the 5th month.
  • Take water with you.

Aerobics

  • Avoid overheating
  • After the second trimester, avoid bouncing and lying on your back for more than five minutes.
  • Stretch prior to your class slowly, avoiding forceful or sudden stretching.
  • Low impact and water aerobics are less likely to cause problems.
  • Avoid crowded classes where you may bump into your neighbor.
  • You may be asked to avoid aerobics classes if you have a history of pregnancy complications or preterm birth.
  • Check with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding sport specific exercise during pregnancy and aerobics.
Return to the top of sports and pregnancy