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Until recently, sport culture has generally positioned motherhood into a woman's post athletic life. But in recent years many examples of elite sportswomen have demonstrated a successful return to sports performance at the highest level.

Research has confirmed that vigorous physical activity has no adverse effects on the course of the pregnancy, the labor, or on the fetus and is not associated with an increased risk of preterm birth or reduction in gestational age at delivery by women who were well trained pre pregnancy. Well trained women can benefit substantially from training at high volumes during an uncomplicated pregnancy. Such training has also been shown to facilitate a successful and quick return to competitive sport after pregnancy.

Whilst this is the case there is a lack of easily obtainable information regarding specific forms of exercise such as strength training while pregnant.

Athletes should have their exercise regime overseen by an expert health provider to ensure the safety and wellness of the mother and her unborn child. This is particularly important with the fetus as small for gestational age.

  • There are a number of forms of sport that are generally considered more unsafe and should be avoided while pregnant. These include:
    • abdominal trauma or pressure ie weightlifting, contact or collision sports such as rugby or martial arts 
    • those that involve projectile objects or striking implements ie hockey or cricket
    • sports involving falling ie judo, skiing, skating, horse riding
    • extreme balance coordination and agility sports ie gymnastics, water skiing
    • sports that involve significant changes in pressure ie scuba diving, skydiving
    • heavy lifting greater than submaximal high intensity training
    • altitudes greater than 2000 meters
    • exercise in the supine position or even motionless supine posture after 28 weeks of gestation

Some modifications to exercise techniques or programs may be required to accommodate anatomical and physiological changes as your body changes throughout the pregnancy.

All pregnant women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises to improve the tone of the pelvic floor muscles reducing the complications of pelvic floor weakness post birth including but not limited to urinary incontinence.

  • Avoid large increases in body temperature during exercise. Remain well hydrated, avoid hot or humid exercise environments where possible.
  • Use controlled stretching only.
  • Avoid wide squat lunges or unilateral leg exercises that place excessive shearing forces on the pubic synthesis and case pubis pain.

Come and see one of our physiotherapists that work in this field if you are suffering from pelvic pain, lumbar spine or other musculoskeletal pain during your pregnancy. We can also help you with designing an exercise programme that is suitable for you during your pregnancy as well as get you started on an appropriate pelvic floor exercise programme to reduce many of the complications that are common post childbirth.  

Also don't forget to discuss your post-partum plan with your physiotherapist so you are comfortable regarding what you need to look out for, when and how you can start and what you can do to ensure the most problem free return to exercise possible post birth.

To book please call 07 576 1860 or email