Is It Safe to Play Sports during Pregnancy?

Should You Play Sports During Pregnancy?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Playing a sport is beneficial for all, but if you want to take up a sport during pregnancy, you might have second thoughts. If you’ve always liked playing sports and want to continue with it while pregnant, then we have good news for you. You can play sports during pregnancy, provided you choose a sport considering your health status. Participating in light sports can prove to beneficial for your physical and mental health during pregnancy, however, it is suggested that you seek your doctor’s approval before engaging in any sport or physical activity.

Benefits of Playing Sport While Pregnant

Sports can do a lot of good for your health. Here are some benefits of playing sports during pregnancy.

Why Is it Important to Be Extra Careful While Playing Sports in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings in hormonal and bodily changes that interfere with your ability to engage in certain activities and sports. As your bump grows, the centre of gravity for your body changes and the ligaments in your pelvic area begin to loosen up. These impose the risk of fall and injury if met with jerks. Therefore, you should cautiously choose a sport that does not harm you and your baby.

Medical Conditions That May Prevent a Woman From Taking Up Sports While Pregnant

There is no harm in taking up sports to maintain fitness levels during pregnancy, but you should do so only after checking with your gynaecologist. There are certain conditions in which sports should be avoided. You should refrain from undergoing physical strain in the following situations mentioned below.

Sports and Fitness Level During Pregnancy

The fitness level to follow during pregnancy depends on your physical activity before conceiving. If you were an active person and have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, you may continue with your sport. But remember to not get too worked up. And if you are a laid-back person who has been inactive and wants to take up a sport, it’s better to take it slow and go for an easy sport. It is recommended that you start with 15 minutes per session and gradually build up to 30 minutes of your game.

Which Sports to Avoid While Pregnant

You should avoid any high-impact sport that has a higher risk of falling or collision and the below-stated risks.

1. Sports Involving the Risk of Falling and Hitting Your Womb

Do not take up or participate in any sport which seems risky. Sports in which you can fall flat on your stomach or in which someone can hit you on your bump accidentally should be avoided at all costs. Some of the sports include downhill skiing, football, basketball, rugby, and squash.

2. High Altitudes or Diving Sports

High altitudes or diving sports are not recommended for you as these can put your baby at risk and make you ill because of the changes in oxygen levels. These include scuba diving and mountaineering.

3. Involves lots of Jumping or Bouncing

Sports that involve lots of bouncing movements are considered unsafe and should be avoided, like horse riding, surfing, volleyball, and similar.

4. Involves Sudden Twists and Turns of Your Body

Certain sports such as ice hockey, tennis, kickboxing require sudden shifts in your body positions. These jerks can have a negative impact on your loosened ligaments and hence, should be avoided.

A pregnant woman exercising

Sports and Stages of Pregnancy

You should select your sport depending on how healthy your pregnancy is. Besides, you may need to alter your sports regime as your pregnancy advances, to meet with the demands of your pregnant body.

1. In the First Trimester

You must consider playing specific sports during the first trimester of pregnancy to prevent your body from overheating. Apart from that keep the following things in mind.

  • Avoid playing in hot & humid temperature.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
  • Drink water to keep yourself hydrated.

2. In the Second and Third Trimesters

In the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, following are the things you should bear in mind while playing sports.

  • As your weight increases in these trimesters, it will make you vulnerable to lose your balance, so as a precautionary measure you should stop playing if you feel unsteady.
  • Your ligaments may also loosen, increasing the risk of ligament injury. As a precaution, avoid activities that involve heavyweights, sudden movements, twists and turns.
  • Your blood pressure will also lower so move slowly to avoid dizziness.

Which Sport is Recommended for Pregnant Women?

Water activities such as swimming and water aerobics are safe and fun during pregnancy. It’s the best pregnancy sport as it won’t make you fall, and all your muscles will get worked out with no risk of overheating your body. It will even help in alleviating the symptoms of back pain and swelling in the leg. Activities that take the below points into consideration can be observed as safe sports during pregnancy.

  • Games or sports that have a minimal chance of you falling are best during pregnancy.
  • Games and sports in which you can stand straight.
  • Sports and activities in which your weight is supported and do not put you off-balance.

Taking up sports during pregnancy has more benefits than consequences. You can consider playing a sport to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Make sure to choose the sport that poses minimal risk to your health and pregnancy to avoid future complications. Also, play safe to avoid any injury, fall or ligament damage, and you can stay strong and fit throughout your pregnancy.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We urge readers to seek the advice of a physician before taking up any sports during pregnancy.

Also Read: Is Running Safe during Pregnancy?

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