When you are pregnant it becomes difficult to carry on doing sport like you use to before. Quickly out of breath (Was that flight of stairs really already that high before?), less mobile as your pregnancy progresses (and we are not just talking about weight gain), but you now pay more attention to your slightest of movements... We quickly wonder what sports is made for us. And afterwards, it doesn't get any easier: you end up constantly hearing about your perineum!
SO WHEN PREGNANT, SHOULD WE GIVE SPORT A GO OR NOT?
WHAT SPORTS DURING PREGNANCY? AND AFTERWARDS?
Systematically inform the instructor at the start of each class.
You should only take the decision to do or not to do physical exercise after having been given your doctor's opinion, a qualified medical opinion on the subject.
Lastly, never push it. And if you don't feel right doing an exercise, don't do it!
SPORT AND PREGNANCY IN BRIEF
Keep in mind this good piece of news: there are activities that are authorised for pregnant women! There is nothing like taking a walk outdoors to get a good breath of fresh air (and the blood flowing), swimming or aquafitness for a gentle cardiovascular work out, the exercise bike to tone (relatively speaking) your body and work on your breathing.
These activities are risk-free during pregnancy if they are done in moderation. Those keen on running can carry on training up until the fifth month of pregnancy, so long as it's done on flat terrain and at moderate pace.
During the last months, a pregnant woman's body is more exposed to getting joint and ligament injuries.
To prevent this, reduce movements with extended stretches, prefer activities where there is no risk of sprains (treadmill or exercise bike rather than a walk in the woods), reduce the weight of loads lifted for weight training exercises.
IT'S WORTH CONSIDERING PREGNANCY AS A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN ITS OWN RIGHT!
The good news is that it is still recommended to carry on doing a physical activity when you are expecting a baby. If there are no reasons not to, an expectant mother can still run approximately up to their 4th month of pregnancy, without forcing it and especially whilst listening to their body. Because what's important is thatyou pay close attention to the transformation taking place and not force it.
To summarise, during this period, don't seek to perform, but look after your well-being. Sport must be linked to enjoyment and less to physical effort like before. Don't try to surpass yourself during these few months.
The goal is to do short amounts of gentle physical activities whilst properly surrounded! If you are keen and/or curious, your health clinic or hospital might offer support to do a suitable sport during pregnancy. If you are already a sportsperson, you might not learn anything you don't already know, but you will be surrounded by good people, supported by professionals, which can be reassuring during a pregnancy.
And you are still left with choice in terms of disciplines you can do, whilst awaiting the arrival of the baby: walking, yoga, pilates and other gentle gym workouts, swimming, cycling or using a scooter on the flat, and other sports that rely more on skill than on putting strain on your body.
Your pregnancy might just be the opportunity to discover archery, dart or skittles! The only rule is to slow down, not push it, and pay close attention to potential contractions you might feel around your tummy. Carrying on doing a sports activity during your pregnancy is even recommended: it's good for you both physically and mentally!
AND AFTER PREGNANCY?
To slowly get fit again, best to start with gentle activities: walking, swimming, cycling… for physical and cardiovascular exertion, gentle gym exercises for regaining suppleness and stability.
The same as during pregnancy, in fact! Avoid activities that can lead to impacts and straining muscle groups and tendons that have been put on standby for a bit.
And then gently work on cardio to regain physical and aerobic fitness. All this is done gradually.
Then, we'll move on the next step: doing sport with the baby!