Sport and pregnancy

Sport and pregnancy

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Even if sport and pregnancy do not seem to go together, you need to have physical activity. Let’s see why!

Why you need to do sport during pregnancy ?

First, anyone can benefit from exercises; it keeps you fit, happy and prevents disease.

Secondly, through your pregnancy, you will be less and less able to move around due to weight gain or increase fatigability.

Thanks to sport you will limit these problems and avoid the common vicious circle which is as you do less you are less able to do, so you do even less…

Pregnancy overloads your muscles and joints creating back, neck, abdominal, SPD and pelvic girdle pain. Sport is the key to prevent these issues.

It also helps you to limit weight gain; (normal weight gain is 12kg), which is not only useful to go back faster in your bikini but more importantly prevents diabetes.

Risks of hypertension, preeclampsia and post-partum depression are also reduced by exercises.

Even less consequential inconvenient like constipation, swollen legs and varices are limited by sport.

When is sport dangerous in pregnancy ?

 You need to be aware of worrying signs:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Head ache
  • Thoracic pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Muscular weakness
  • Uterine contraction
  • Swollen legs
  • Lose of amniotic liquid
  • Dizziness

If any of this signs appear as you are training, you need to stop and report it immediately to your Gp or midwife.

Sport is totally forbidden if you are suffering from:

  • Cardio vascular disease
  • Cervix opening
  • Triplets pregnancy
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Preeclampsia
  • Placenta previa
  • In any case ask to your GP or midwife to be sure

 pregnant-1597889_1920You will have to speak to your GP or midwife before to start physical activity, if you are suffering from:

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Breathing and heart issues
  • Sedentarity (if you never practice sport before)
  • Anorexia
  • Epilespia
  • Thyroids

What are the good and bad sport to do throughout pregnancy?

What sport are recommended?

Practising sport during pregnancy is essential but not all sports are beneficial.

Sports recommended for pregnant women are the one without impact and without increase abdominal pressure.

There are two kinds of good exercises: Sport without gravity and Balance Sport.

Sports without gravity are:

  • Swimming
  • Aqua gym
  • Riding a Bike in safe area or gentle spinning

They are good to maintain your cardio and your pulmonary capacity

Balance sports are:


  • Yoga
  • Ballet
  • Tai shi
  • Golf
  • Walking

They are particularly good to train your whole body without trauma or risk.

What kind of sports to avoid ?

Physical activities increasing your abdominal pressure present no major risk for your baby but are dangerous for your abdominal and pelvic muscles and may lead to abdominal gap, incontinences and prolapse.

Therefore, it is better to avoid sit up, crunches, weight lifting, Swedish gym and some Pilates exercises.

Yes Pilates… I know it may be surprising as there is more and more pregnancy Pilate class.

But yes, let’s be clear, some Pilates exercises are dangerous for your abdominal and pelvic muscles.

All the pilate exercises lying on the floor with leg raised, such as the one hundred, will push your tummy out, increasing abdominal pressure and consequently are prohibited all long and even after pregnancy.

Another type of sport to avoid is

  • Water sport



  • Surf
  • Kyte surf
  • Water ski
  • Watter slide

As fast water entering in vaginal tract is dangerous for your baby

  • Mountain sport
    • Lack of oxygen is dangerous for your baby
    • So avoid to practice physical activity above 2500m of altitude
  • Sport with important fall risk are dangerous for your baby!!!


It may seem obvious but my practice showed me the opposite… To avoid fall and impact on your belly do not practice:

  • Ski
  • Riding horse
  • Mountain bike
  • Roller skating
  • Ice skating

Similarly also at risk of impact on your belly:

  • Contact/team sport


To avoid fall and impact on your belly

  • Football
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Rugby
  • And even more Fight sport
    • Box
    • Wrestling
    • Self defense
    • Martial art with impact

Finally, the most dangerous sport for your baby and completely forbidden is:

  • Diving in apnea or with bottle
  • Because there is a Major risk of blood disruption between you and your baby


But How to do sport in pregnancy? (details on how to practice)

For beginner:

You are not very sporty? Still you aware it is important for you and your baby but you don’t know how to start or what to do?

Let’s see when to start sport during your pregnancy, how long should a session last, how often a week you can practice and how to have a appropriate intensity training.

When to start?

  • No sport during first trimester
  • Only if you were not doing sport before

If you didn’t have any physical activity before your pregnancy, you should start at the begening of the second trimester.

How long?

Your sport session should not last more than 30min and have a break after 15min.

How often?

Do not train more than 3 times a week but try to do it at least once.

Intensity of physical activity

It is important to no push your body too much. So either reduced what you were used to do before the pregnancy, by half. Either, if you are starting go slowly.

The intensity we aiming for is half of your VO2 max which probably doesn’t mean anything for you. To put it clearly, you should always be able to speak as you are training.


For pregnant women with a good level:

You are very sporty? You want to carry the good work as it is good both for you and your baby. However, you are not sure what to do or how to do it.

Let’s see when to start, how often you should train and how to adapt the intensity of your training to your pregnancy progressing.

When to start?

  • You can continue your sport from the start to the end of your pregnancy.
  • Just you would need to adapt
    • the number of session
    • their length
    • and the intensity

How often?

  • You can do 5 sessions a week maximum during the first trimester.
  • Reduce to 3 sessions a week at the end of first trimester to the end.

How long?

  • A session should last 30min maximum.
  • Think to drink water during the session.


  • You should be at 70% of what you were doing before.
  • See with your coach or use a cardio frequency meter.
  • Always be extra safe and speak regularly to your GP and Physio about your training and always ask if there is any suspicion of a problem.

Last tip: after delivery, do a pelvic floor and abdominal check up to know when and how you can start your sport again.

General tips for practising sport during your pregnancy:

  • Listen to your body, if you are tired stop, it is not about performance
  • Drink more than usual as you are two
  • Be extra careful with sun and heat wave are you are more at risk
  • Concerning materiel, always use trainer less than 2 months old and wear sport bra to avoid pain


Remember, if there is no contra indication  you can do sport until the last day of your pregnancy!

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