Doing sport during pregnancy seems dangerous or at least contradictory. However, the opposite is true! Physical activity, if well chosen and practised in a considered manner, has real benefits for pregnant women.
L’intérêt de l’activité physique pendant la grossesse
Practising a sporting activity during pregnancy, if done sparingly, has many advantages. In fact, practising a sport in moderation during this period guarantees better sleep and reduces anxiety: the mind benefits fully!
From a physical point of view, sports activities help to maintain the cardio-respiratory system, blood circulation and muscular strength. This reduces the risk of excessive weight gain, oedema and gestational diabetes.
By strengthening your body in this way, you also prevent yourself from a sometimes difficult birth. You will have more strength for pushing and a better recovery. The duration of labour is shorter, and it has been proven that there are fewer emergency caesarean sections in pregnant women who were physically active during their pregnancy.
Quels sports privilégier pendant la grossesse ?
Aerobic sports, which provide your body with oxygen, are the most recommended. These are usually endurance or stretching sports, which are rather gentle and can be adapted to the months of pregnancy. Among the most recommended are cycling (ideally on an exercise bike to avoid falls), walking, swimming, aqua aerobics and yoga. Water sports have the great advantage of resting the joints and are very popular during the last third of pregnancy.
Les sports à éviter pendant la grossesse
To avoid unnecessary risks, certain sports should be avoided during pregnancy. These include sliding, speed, racket, combat, mechanical and team sports. Sports that involve impact, such as jogging or horse riding, should also be practised sparingly, and preferably only during the first trimester of pregnancy.
In order to avoid falls, it is also important to avoid risky sports in this area, such as climbing, gymnastics, etc. Diving can have serious repercussions on the foetus and should therefore also be avoided. From the fourth month of pregnancy onwards, lying on your back should be avoided during sports activities, as this compresses the vena cava, which can lead to venous insufficiency.
Quelles précautions prendre ?
Before practising any sporting activity during pregnancy, it is best to seek the advice of your doctor, gynaecologist or midwife. If your pregnancy is not at risk and you are in good general health, there are no obvious contraindications.
However, it is important to listen to your body and how you feel when practising physical activity at this delicate time of life: your body is being put under great strain by pregnancy. If you are already an athlete, you can continue with suitable sports without aiming for performance. If you start exercising during your pregnancy, keep your sessions short and light in terms of intensity. Don’t forget to take into account that your centre of gravity will change over the months: beware of falls!
If you feel discomfort and fatigue, slow down. If certain symptoms appear (vaginal bleeding, contractions, pain), it is advisable to stop all sport and to consult a health professional as soon as possible. In certain specific cases, sport is totally contraindicated: multiple pregnancy, history of spontaneous miscarriage, placental abruption, placenta previa, chronic or cardiac diseases, etc.
If your pregnancy is going well and you are in good health, sport can only benefit you. Both mentally and physically, it brings strength and serenity, and allows you to be better prepared for childbirth, while promoting better recovery.