Sport during pregnancy brings multiple benefits, but you must take the necessary precautions and have the approval of the doctor, especially if the mother did not practice physical activities regularly before pregnancy.
There are many doubts about the practice of sport during pregnancy. On the one hand there are those who think that gestation is a stage for rest and stillness. At the opposite extreme are those who believe that staying constantly active during pregnancy is the most appropriate.
Experts agree that sport during pregnancy is more than advisable. However, precautions must be taken, since not all disciplines are convenient and it is not beneficial to maintain indiscriminate physical activity.
Sport during pregnancy brings great benefits, as it improves mood, relieves backaches, prevents joint problems and accelerates bowel movement. What should be taken into account so that there are no difficulties? We will see it right away.
The intensity of sport during pregnancy
The most convenient thing is to make a physical activity plan with the doctor’s supervision. If before pregnancy you frequently exercised or practiced a sport, it will be enough to make some small adjustments. If, on the other hand, you were sedentary, the physical activity should start slowly and gradually increase in intensity.
Doctors recommend that at least two and a half hours of aerobic physical activity be carried out per week for those who do not usually exercise. Mothers who play sports regularly should only lower the intensity a bit.
In general, every woman can play sports during pregnancy. The only cases in which this is not convenient are the following:
- If there is bleeding or vaginal bleeding.
- If early contractions occur.
- When the mother has pregnancy-induced hypertension.
- If there is an early rupture of the membranes, commonly known as ‘rupture of the bag’.
The first trimester of pregnancy is the most complicated for some women. If during this stage you feel excessively tired or have frequent dizziness and vomiting, take physical activity calmly. It may not be the priority at this time. Anyway, a regular walk can be of great help.
The most appropriate at this stage, especially if you have not been a great athlete, is to start with body-mind exercises, such as adapted yoga, exercises with self-loading or elastic bands and Pilates. During the first three months your body is doing titanic tasks, so don’t overdo it.
The practice of a sport as such is only advisable if you already practiced it before unless they are contact sports. Otherwise, walking at a rapid pace, especially on steep terrain, is an excellent option. It is also advisable to climb stairs whenever you can.
The second trimester is a more appropriate stage to practice sports during pregnancy. The most advisable activities are those that help you develop more strength and endurance. But the lifting of important weights and contact practices should not be included.
The most advisable is still the fast-paced walk. Likewise, swimming turns out to be an excellent alternative, since:
- Strengthens the cardiorespiratory system
- It helps control weight
- It helps relieve back pain
- Tone the body
During this stage, it is very convenient to perform Kegel exercises regularly. Doing Pilates strengthens the pelvic floor, so it is also a relevant indication, as does the practice of yoga. The exercise bike or elliptical for 20 minutes, three times a week, could be great, as long as the doctor agrees.
Doing sports during pregnancy is complicated a little more in the third trimester, due to the weight of the belly. This makes movements more limited and greater balance problems appear. It is not good that you stay still, but also that you do not overdo the exercise.
At this stage, the walk is still an important activity, as it is a great exercise to keep fit. Doing yoga and Pilates is also recommended, but to these, you must add postural control sessions and breathing exercises.
At all stages of pregnancy, it is important to maintain proper nutrition and hydration during sports. Also wear appropriate clothing, especially the bra. If you exercise sitting or on the floor, get up slowly when you have to get up.
Pregnant women should not practice sports such as water skiing, mountaineering, scuba diving or intense aerobics. Racket sports, sports gymnastics or horse riding should be done in moderation, and as long as they are already practiced before pregnancy.
Aguilar Cordero, MJ, Sánchez López, AM, Rodríguez Blanque, R., Noack Segovia, JP, Cano, P., López-Contreras, G., & Mur Villar, N. (2014). Physical activity in pregnant women and their influence on maternal-fetal parameters: a systematic review. Hospital Nutrition, 30 (4), 719-726.