Pregnancy and exercise | Sanitas magazine

Should you continue doing sport and exercise during pregnancy?

Is it okay to do sport while pregnant? It’s great to do sport, because exercise is good for your body and your mind – but you have to listen to your body and don’t try to be too ambitious.

Benefits: Regular exercise prevents and eases typical pregnancy-related complaints because it:

  • encourages the build-up of muscle, strength and stamina, and thus prepares mums-to-be for the birth and reduces the recovery time in the weeks after childbirth
  • stimulates the circulatory system
  • reduces the risk of thrombosis
  • prevents back pain
  • prevents oedema and water retention
  • encourages a healthy emotional balance
  • eases muscle tension
  • can help prevent gestational diabetes

Recommended sports:

  • Endurance sports such as cycling, swimming, jogging, walking
  • Aquafit
  • Yoga (from the 32nd week of pregnancy, avoid positions that involve turning upside down, because this could cause the baby to move into breech position)
  • Fitness (don’t push yourself to the limit, don’t do strenuous sit-ups and, from the 4th month, don’t do any strength exercises lying on your back)

Sports to avoid:

  • Competitive and high-level sports such as marathons
  • Sports with quick, jarring movements such as tennis and squash
  • Team sports where there is the risk of falling and injury, such as basketball, volleyball
  • Sports where there is the risk of falling, such as horse riding, inline skating, ice-skating, skiing and snowboarding
  • Martial arts

Sport and antenatal exercise: Sport shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for antenatal exercise. In antenatal exercise classes you’ll learn breathing techniques and special exercises designed to ease the process of giving birth.

Points to remember when doing sport during pregnancy:

  • Doing sport twice a week helps you feel good.
  • Don’t push yourself to your limit; your pulse shouldn’t be racing.
  • Don’t overdo it, because overheating can harm your unborn child.
  • There’s a greater risk of joint injuries during pregnancy, because tendons and ligaments tend to be softer, which makes the joints more unstable.
  • Make sure you eat sufficient carbohydrates (wholegrain) and vitamins (fresh fruit and vegetables).
  • Drink plenty of water or unsweetened tea.