Are you waiting for your bundle of joy to arrive? But do you also dread not being able to exercise for nine months? Don't worry: doing sport during pregnancy is perfectly all right! You simply have to adjust the intensity of your exercise and follow a few safety precautions. You will need to change your habits and adapt your activity so that you don't risk harming your baby. Follow our tips to make the right choice.
Sport and pregnancy: restrictions
Expecting a baby should not stop you from moving around! Yet you need to recognise that pregnancy is not without its annoyances: fatigue, breathlessness, vertigo, cramp, lower blood pressure… these problems can really affect your body during these nine months. A swollen stomach and the baby's weight can lead to a loss of balance and trouble moving about. Aching backs and heavy limbs can also ruin your morale. Rest is often the order of the day!
The right sport for a pregnant woman
The good news is that there are activities that pregnant women can safely do! Nothing is better than walking outdoors for a breath of fresh air, swimming or doing aqua fitness for low-impact movement, and exercise bikes for toning your body and working on your stamina. These activities are healthy and present no risks during pregnancy if they are done in moderation. Joggers can carry on running until they are five months pregnant, so long as they do so on flat ground and at a moderate pace.
During the last trimester, a pregnant woman's body is more prone to joint and ligament damage. To prevent this from happening, reduce large movements, prioritise activities where you won't risk getting a sprain (treadmill or exercise bike rather than walking in the woods), and reduce the weight you use for bodybuilding exercises.
When not to exercise
In certain cases you should stop doing physical activity during or after pregnancy. If you find yourself in one of the following situations, speak to your midwife or gynaecologist immediately.
If you have had a miscarriage
If you have given birth prematurely
If you have a risk of giving birth prematurely
If you have a low-lying placenta
If you have had chronic bleeding
If you have had lower back or hip problems
If you are suffering from hypertension
If you are expecting a multiple birth
Easing off during pregnancy
Women often ask whether they should ease off at different points of their pregnancy. The answer is yes. Doing sport during pregnancy obviously means listening to your body and the baby so you know when to stop. If you were active before you fell pregnant, the need to moderate your exercise will come naturally: your weight and growing stomach will make you want to slow your pace. During the first trimester, it is important to avoid overheating. During the second trimester, you need to avoid exercises where you will be standing up for a long time because they can reduce blood flow to your baby.
Setting a benchmark
In order to know whether you are doing too much, remember this tip to help you exercise safely: you should be exercising at 60% of your maximum heart rate during pregnancy.
In all cases, stop immediately if you start suffering from any of the following: vertigo, breathlessness, malaise, bleeding, trouble walking, contractions, or if your baby is not moving as normal.
Your coach's advice on adapting your activity
In order to learn how to adapt your physical activity during pregnancy, follow these tips from Amandine, a Domyos club coach. If you follow these rules, you won't face any risks. In all cases, don't forget to ask your doctor's opinion before starting or getting back into sport.
Reduce the intensity of your exercise => Benchmark: you should be able to maintain a conversation
Avoid getting too hot
Avoid contracting your abdominals
Remember to drink regularly
Reduce the weight you lift
Your sport at your gym
If you follow your coach's recommendations, you can do virtually anything! At the gym, go for the stepper, cross trainer, rowing machine and exercise bike. In terms of group classes you could do dance classes and simply adapt the intensity or join beginner groups in order to reduce the pace. Gentle gymnastics (yoga, pilates, stretching) activities are strongly encouraged. But forget about abs workouts and bodybuilding with heavy weights.
Lastly, don't forget to warn your instructor at the start of each class!
Remember: you should only decide whether or not to do an exercise after getting a qualified medical opinion.