Practicing Sports during Pregnancy: What Is and What Isn`t Allowed?
One of the best things to gain some weight and offer a good health to your future baby is to practice sports during pregnancy.
Once you discussed this with your doctor, if he decides you can take your sneakers and start doing physical exercises, there are a few more things that you should take into consideration to keep yourself safe.
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Sports & Physical Exercises that Are Not Allowed
All the following sports should be avoided:
- Scuba diving – because of the pressure drop once you return to the water`s surface, your baby will find it difficult to adapt. It was also found that this can lead to premature birth and birth deficiencies
- Skiing and water skiing
- Martial arts
- Jumping on the trampoline
- All contact sports
Pregnant women with asthma, heart diseases or diabetes aren`t allowed doing any kind of sports during pregnancy, as well as women who:
- Experience vaginal bleeding
- Have the placenta positioned very low
- Have a history of premature labor and premature birth
- Have severe anemia
- At very consultation, the doctor concluded that the fetus is smaller than the pregnancy`s age
- Have preeclampsia
- Have too much extra weight
All pregnant women who are in the following situations will stop any physical exercises and contact their doctor immediately:
- Experience vomits
- Being often dizzy, confused, breathing heavily and having a blurred view
- Experience unusual fatigue
- Have often headaches, chest pains, abdominal pains, leg pains or swelling legs
- The fetal development has stopped
- Experience uterine contractions
- Experience amniotic liquid leaking
Sports & Physical Exercises that Are Allowed
The following sports can be practiced:
- Swimming – beginners should start with 5 – 10 minutes swimming sessions at their first 3 encounters with the water. Then, they could increase the duration to 20 minutes, 2 -3 times per week. The water`s temperature should be somewhere around 18 – 20 Celsius degrees, avoiding warm water as much as possible. Sauna is also not recommended. Swimming is the perfect sport during the third trimester when floating in the water will release the pressure against the joints and spine. Jumping in the water or immersing is not recommended.
- Brisk walking – 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week, ideal for pregnant women who didn`t practiced any sports before their pregnancy.
- Elliptical Biking – using an elliptical bike is recommended.
- Easy Aerobic – Avoid busy hours when the room`s temperature is increasing. Stay away from kickboxing or step aerobics..
- Tennis – it`s allowed, but with caution when changing directions suddenly.
- Jogging – If it was practiced before the pregnancy.
As a main rule, it`s recommended 30 minutes of moderated physical activity, 3 times per week. More often than this might not be such a good idea, 5 times per week might be leading to giving birth to a child with a smaller size than normal.
Guidelines to Consider when Practicing Sports during Pregnancy
A fitness program during pregnancy will assume the beginning of the session with 5 minutes of warming up exercises and stretching. Then, the 15-minutes cardio exercises will follow with a careful heart rate monitoring. The intensity of the aerobic activities will be reduced, performing 5 – 10 minutes of easy exercises which will end with another 5 minutes of stretching.
Practicing sports during pregnancy should be followed by the following guidelines:
- You should wear of comfortable clothing, including a special bra specifically designed for practicing sports.
- Choose sports shoes which are especially manufactured for the type of physical exercise that you are practicing.
- Do your exercises on a flat surface.
- Consume enough calories to be able to meet the growing belly and physical exercises that you are practicing (with 300 calories more than before your pregnancy).
- Stop eating anything with 1 hour before your workout.
- Drink water before, during and after your physical exercises.
- After doing your exercises, get up from the ground easy to avoid dizziness.
- Don`t exceed your limits! If you can`t talk normally during your exercises, then you probably put too much effort. Slow down a bit or take a pause to relax.
- If you want to do jogging, choose a period of time when is colder during the day, early in the morning or in the evening. Choose to wear clothes that can be easily removed when desired. Don`t forget the bottle of water and don`t jogg longer distances than 15 minutes away from home. Try not to be alone where you are jogging and avoid sprinting or climbing. If you can run on grass in the park, it`s perfect because it will absorb the impact of your steps with the ground. The last 10 minutes from your sessions should be spent mostly walking.
- If you choose swimming, try to avoid busy pools where there could be people who might hit you by mistake. You should choose colder waters and don`t forget to finish the bottle of water that always keep near you until the session of swimming will end. At the end of your swimming session, stay for 5 more minutes on the margin of the pool to rest. Don`t do any acrobatics in the pool and don`t change directions in the water too suddenly.
- If you practices aerobics, avoid busy hours when other persons could lose their balance and hit you by mistake. If you feel you are getting too warm, leave the group. Drink water every 10 minutes. You shouldn`t really force yourself to do all the exercises correctly or until you finish them because it`s not a competition. You should instead find your own rhythm. Even easy movements can help, but you should avoid step aerobics, kickboxing and any kind of jumping. Use your own towel during and after your aerobic sessions and carefully wash your hands doing your exercises.
Practicing Sports during Each Trimester of Pregnancy
1. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the fetus is pretty small, being able to be protected by the pelvic bones.
- Pregnant women who are used to do regular physical exercises can keep their lifestyle during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you are now deciding to start practicing a sport, take it slowly, choosing to do only those kind of exercises that are suitable to your own abilities. This should mean easy exercises that will increase in intensity and duration from one session to another.
- It`s recommended to avoid sports with physical contact with another person or object which can cause impacts or pressure, as well as sports with a high risk of falling or sudden change of position, such as gymnastics, skating, skiing or scuba diving. You can instead choose to practice swimming or aerobics.
- As your body will adapt the increased volume of blood which will be flowing through your veins, fatigue and hard breathing are signs that should tell you to slow down, either decreasing the intensity, duration, changing position or taking a moment to relax.
- Hormonal changes which usually appear during pregnancy might give the sensation of a flexibility that you didn`t encounter by now. This won`t mean you should stretch your ligaments too much.
2. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the baby isn`t housed by the bones of your hips, which will mean he may be at risk in case of falling or if you are hit.
- The intensity of the physical exercises should be reduced once you reach the 12th pregnancy week. It`ll mostly be a natural decision because the increased weight of your baby will make it harder for you to move easy.
- With every week passing, will become more important to ensure the proper blood flow necessary for your baby`s development. That`s why it`s best if you`ll avoid:
- Staying on your back during your workout
- Standing on your feet for too long
3. During the third trimester of pregnancy:
- You should avoid physical activities that involve vibrations, like running, dancing, jumping or biking on rough roads. Instead try to practice swimming, water aerobics, walking, using a stationary bicycle and other similar sports which involve constant movement and additional points of support for your increased weight.
- Training with weights can be practiced, but keep in mind that you should reduce your weights once your belly will grow.
Although you might feel the measures of precaution being a bit discouragingly, moderate and constant physical movements can be really healthy for both you and your baby.