Unfortunately, contact sports are not generally suitable for moms-to-be. Read on to find out more about safe exercises during pregnancy.
Contact sports during pregnancy
Exercising is an integral part of staying fit and healthy during a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. Some rare doctors are still stuck in the last century or before, and advise their pregnant patients to "stick to stretching exercises". Fortunately, most people recognize that workouts such as swimming, walking, yoga, and cycling are not only safe during pregnancy, but also very beneficial. There are some types of exercises that are not safe during pregnancy, however. Obvious examples include bungee jumping, car racing, and even paintball which is pretty high impact and can potentially harm a fetus after the first trimester of pregnancy. Then there are some prenatal sports that fall into a gray zone.
Running is probably safe during pregnancy if you've been running for ages, but no pregnant woman should start running if she wasn't already in great shape before she conceived. Contact sports are all sports which involve physical contact with other participants.
Team sports like basketball, volleyball, or soccer are contact sports because you can bump into other players, either accidentally or within the rules of the game.
Boxing, tae kwon do, judo and karate are also contact sports. In the case of these combative sports, "hurting" your opponent is often the whole point, and serious injuries aren't the objective of the game but they are possible. Contact sports are not recommended during pregnancy because of their potential to cause injury and sports in which abdominal contact is common (like martial arts) should especially be avoided. Pregnant women who practice any of these sports may not completely have to give them up during the long nine months of their pregnancy, however. Talk to your trainer about modifying your practice so that you can stay safe and keep your unborn baby safe. In judo, for instance, some exercises will still be possible as long as you eliminate falling and abdominal blows. Besides discussing a modified training regime with your coach or trainer, talking to your OBGYN about the risks of your sport ensures that you will enjoy a healthy and active pregnancy, and avoid putting yourself or your baby at risk of injury.
So, what prenatal exercises are safe?
Moms-to-be who were active in contact sports before they conceived may be very disappointed to find out that their sport is not safe during pregnancy. If you have to give your sport up temporarily, you will still want to stay in shape by doing other prenatal workouts. If you are normally a kick boxer, the thought of doing prenatal yoga may add to your pregnancy nausea more than just a little bit! Yet, there are plenty of options for you, and you may enjoy one of the following exercises during pregnancy:
- Swimming supports your muscles very well, and makes sports injuries very unlikely. While swimming is suitable for pregnant women of any fitness level, it will also be great for any women who is already in great shape.
- Taking long brisk walks certainly does something for your body! Obviously, walking works your lower body, but if you have the correct posture you will even safely work on the abdominal muscles. Since most ab exercises are not OK during pregnancy, walking is a perfect alternative. Read more about the benefits of walking during pregnancy by clicking on the link.
- Running is suitable for pregnant women who were already active runners before pregnancy, and who don't have any complications like placenta previa.
- Prenatal yoga is supposed to be relaxing and work your muscles. Yoga encourages flexibility, and may make your labor and birth easier. A good prenatal yoga class will specifically target those muscles that you will need during your labor and delivery.
Contact sports after pregnancy
If your baby and your schedule allow it, you can go back to your old sport at around six weeks postpartum. Before that time, your body will still be recovering from the pregnancy and birth. Most moms feel sore and tired for a few weeks, and then they slowly start feeling better. Mothers who had a c-section may need to wait longer than six weeks before they resume any contact sport, but walking and stretching are encouraged as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor at your six-week postpartum checkup to see if you can get that green light to start doing your sport again.