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Sports and good health go hand in hand. This is equally true during pregnancy, as the woman prepares herself for the challenges of giving birth, including the physical challenges. Athletic women can continue to participate in sports in moderation, if they use common sense and make a few simple adjustments.

An exception to this is the last trimester of pregnancy, during which swimming is the only recommended sport (aside from breathing exercises).
Swimming is the ideal sport during pregnancy. It is an aerobic activity, and also helps re-balance the body's centre of gravity, which changes due to weight gain. Under certain circumstances (fetal distress, bed rest), you should not participate in sports activities. The following high-risk and extreme sports are absolutely prohibited:
  • High-risk sports likely to cause injury, accidents, and falls
  • Anaerobic activities
  • Martial arts
  • Diving, headfirst or otherwise
  • Intense effort.
You can participate in all other sports (bicycling, running, and aerobic sports) without reservation, but keep the following in mind.
  • Be sure to include a warm-up and cool-down period
  • Stick to slow, low-intensity physical activity with frequent breaks
  • Never overexert yourself
  • Never exceed 60-65% of your maximum heart rate
  • Never exercise hard enough to raise your body temperature
  • Do not engage in sports in a warm and humid environment, or a very cold one
  • Avoid exercising during the hottest hours of the day
  • Drink plenty of water before and after exercising
  • Stop immediately if you feel any pain, dizziness, breathlessness, or excessive fatigue.
Women who do not exercise regularly should not normally start during pregnancy.
Gentle exercise (e. g., childbirth exercises), yoga and walking are exceptions to this.
Your gynecologist is the best person to ask, and will be happy to give you advice tailored to your personal circumstances.
Page created on: 03/09/2012
Last modified on: 03/09/2012
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