Whether or not it is safe for you to participate in sport during your pregnancy depends a lot on the type of sport you play. General recommendations include:
• Non-contact sport – this is any sport that doesn’t involve the possibility of contact with another player, such as swimming, walking and jogging. In most cases, it is safe for pregnant women to play non-contact sports during the entire pregnancy, as long as they consult closely with their doctor and don’t over-exert themselves.
• Minimal contact sports – this is sport that involves minimal contact, such as racquet sports and netball. These sports are considered safe during the first first three months with the possibility of continuing into the second trimester depending on the circumstances (ie the level of competition, fitness of the mother and state of the pregnancy). Consult closely with your doctor if you wish to continue playing into your second trimester.
• Contact and collision sports – contact and collision sports, such as football and basketball, are considered safe only in the first three months.
• Lifting and straining – exercises that involve straining, such as lifting heavy weights, are also potentially dangerous (particularly in the later stages of pregnancy) and are not recommended.
Make sure you see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms during or after exercise: high heart rate, dizziness or faintness, headache, contractions, bleeding or amniotic fluid leakage, nausea, shortness of breath, back or pelvic pain, decreased fetal movements, severe and rapid swelling of your face, hands or ankles.
Any illness or pregnancy complication should be fully assessed and discussed before you start or continue an exercise program.