In principle, exercise during pregnancy is not only permitted, but also recommended. The most important prerequisite is of course the health of the pregnant woman. The basic rule for sport and exercise during pregnancy: listen to your doctor and your intuition!
The multitude of advice from advisors for expectant mothers can sometimes be unsettling. Is a pregnant woman allowed to exercise at all without harming herself or her child? – It is probably best to discuss this with a doctor or a midwife and then mainly listen to your own feelings. If a woman observes a few simple rules of thumb and does not overexert herself, the positive effect of sport will predominate in any case. In general, however, stop training immediately if you feel unwell or dizzy, or if bleeding occurs. Consult your doctor afterwards!
Sports with a low risk of injury and moderate stress are suitable for pregnant women. These include sports such as Nordic walking, jogging, swimming, yoga or cycling on an ergometer. Sports that involve the risk of falls or collisions should be avoided, as should extreme physical exertion.
Positive effects of sport during pregnancy
Sport and exercise during pregnancy are certainly moderately healthy as long as you feel comfortable. They promote endurance, strength and muscle building. This can help to prepare the expectant mother for the efforts of the birth. But also during pregnancy sport helps against many minor and major pregnancy complaints. Back pain, constipation and fatigue can be alleviated or eliminated through sport. If a woman keeps fit during pregnancy, it is often easier to get rid of the increased weight after pregnancy. In addition, sport and exercise simply also promote a good mood.
Sports risk: When should you let your workout stay?
For previous premature or miscarriages, heavy bleeding or existing problems with joints and back, a doctor should be consulted. Sometimes it is more advisable under these circumstances to limit or even suspend the training for the remaining time of pregnancy.
Rules for safe training for pregnant women
The simple rule of thumb for pregnant women is not to overexert! Only do what you like! Try to arrange the physical strain in such a way that you can also have a good time. It is not recommended to train above a pulse of about 140 beats per minute. So be careful not to exceed this limit. If the endurance load is too high, the mother’s body temperature may rise (hyperthermia). This increases the blood flow into the muscles and for cooling into the skin and may result in a reduced supply of the child.
Furthermore, intensive physical exertion can lead to an increase in the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. Norepinephrine can trigger premature contractions. Finally, heavy mechanical stress, e.g. gymnastics on uneven bars, should be avoided, as this could lead to premature rupture of the amniotic sac. Women who have already trained intensively before becoming pregnant can often continue their training programme as usual after consulting their doctor.
Caution is advised for all pregnant women but during stretching exercises. The pregnant woman’s body changes under the influence of hormones released during pregnancy. For example, the hormone relaxin, which is present in ten times higher concentrations during pregnancy, increases the elasticity of joints and ligaments in order to create sufficient space for the growing fetus. All other joints and ligaments are also loosened. Injuries, overstretching or strains can therefore occur more easily.
Suitable sports for expectant mothers
As already mentioned at the beginning, the criteria for suitable sports are low risk of injury and falls as well as moderate physical exertion.
- Walking and hiking are suitable for pregnant women. The strain can be well dosed. However, do not go to higher altitudes than 2000m.
- When jogging it is important to pay attention to the pulse. Take a few steps if your heartbeat becomes too fast and you can no longer talk. Wear well cushioned running shoes and preferably run on soft ground, e.g. in the forest, instead of on hard asphalt.
- This is easy on the joints.
- Swimming relieves the joints and prevents varicose veins and cellulite due to the water pressure. Water temperatures of 18 – 24 °C are well suited for pregnant women.
- However, be sure to take a shower immediately after swimming and change your swimsuit to avoid fungal infections.
- Far Eastern yoga, on the other hand, can be practiced throughout pregnancy. Avoid stretching exercises, which could lead to strains or overstretching due to the loosened ligaments and joints.
- The cycling movements themselves are suitable for pregnant women as long as they do not have any problems with the pelvic floor. Nevertheless, due to the risk of falls from the 2nd third of pregnancy onwards, the bicycle should be replaced by the bicycle ergometer.
- We wish you a problem-free pregnancy and lots of fun with your offspring!