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Pregnant Traveller Sports and Activities

If you were a really active person before falling pregnant, to stop doing what you love can be really difficult, not to mention boring! You can still stay active and participate in some sports and activities throughout varying stages of your pregnancy - something which helps when you're planning on backpacking or travelling and don't want to be stuck for things to do or to be particularly inactive.

As your pregnancy progresses, you should avoid doing any activity or sport which puts you at any risk of falling or increases the risk of any trauma occurring to your abdomen.

Some of the following activities can cause problems during pregnancy, and should be avoided; whereas others are good for you and safe whilst pregnant:

Amusement park rides

Forceful landing, stopping or a sudden start is a huge no-no for expectant mothers.

Cycling

Unless you are an experienced cyclist and cycled regularly before you became pregnant, cycling isn't a good idea. A shifting centre of gravity can affect your balance and make even the shortest bike ride dangerous.

Contact sports

For obvious reasons - a collision with another player could be fatal, and the risk of falling during play is significantly higher.

Downhill skiing

Most experts advise strongly against downhill skiing anytime during your pregnancy because of the increased risk of serious injuries or hard falls. If you do choose to ski, and are experienced at it, stick to gentle slopes and be aware that as your baby continues to grow, you may have problems with balance. A safer choice (if any alternative) is cross-country skiing which is also a lot better at building your cardiovascular fitness. Doctors also advise against skiing at any altitudes above 6,000 feet where there is less oxygen for you and your baby.

Gymnastics

Increased risk of falling or trauma to the abdomen.

Horse-riding

Even if you are an experienced rider, there is always the chance of falling which could be seriously dangerous.

Post-sport hot tubs and saunas

Overheating of the body has been linked to birth defects, so sitting and soaking in hot tubs, jacuzzis or saunas after you've got your heartrate pumping could be dangerous to your developing child.

Running

Unless you did this on a regular basis before you became pregnant, taking up running whilst you are pregnant is strongly advised against. If you are used to it, then it is fine as long as it is in moderation. As your tummy expands as the baby grows, you will find it harder to run as your centre of gravity and balance will be off, so running is not recommended past the second trimester. Avoid getting overheated, and drink plenty of fluids to replace the sweat you are losing.

Scuba-diving

This activity is an absolute no. As you surface back up from the depths, air bubbles can form in your bloodstream, which can be very dangerous for both you and your unborn baby.

Snowboarding

An increased risk of fall and trauma to the abdomen.

Surfing

Another activity that puts you at risk of a fall, hitting the water hard and gaining trauma to the abdomen.

Tennis

As long as you play your game of tennis with a moderate pace. As with running, make sure that if you do have any issues with balance or feel like your belly is too big, that you stop as this is likely to affect your centre of gravity and therefore you are more likely to fall.

Waterskiing

Another activity that puts you at risk of hitting the water hard and causing internal (and external) damage to your abdomen.

A good idea is to play it smart by following only safe pregnancy activities. Yes, they might not include the same kind of adrenaline-rushes that you're used to, but they still keep you active and the benefits to the baby are huge. Exercise boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces those irritating aches and pains. Some research has even suggested that it helps prevent and treat gestational diabetes, and may keep pre-eclampsia at bay, as well as preparing you for labour by strengthening muscles, building endurance and makes it a lot easier for you to get back into shape after the birth.

Walking

One of the best ways for a pregnant woman to stay fit and active, walking keeps your cardiovascular fitness up and stops your ankles and knees from jarring. It's also easily accessible and doesn't require any specialist training or equipment (even if you do feel like a crane has to get you up out of your sofa, your belly is so big sometimes). Make sure you wear a good pair of supportive shoes.

Swimming

Worldwide healthcare providers and pregnancy experts say that swimming is the best and safest exercise for pregnant women to do. It's ideal because it exercises your biggest muscle groups (arms and legs) as well as giving you a good cardiovascular workout feeling huge, heavy or overheated.

Low-impact aerobics

Any aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and tones your body. If you take a pre-natal exercise class for women, you'll also get to enjoy the benefits of surrounding yourself with other women in similar situations.

Dancing

Another cardiovascular exercise which is easy to do within the comfort of your own home, or as a pre-natal group in a class. Steer clear of routines which ask you to do jumps, leaps and twirls, as this increases the risk of falling and damaging yourself or your baby.

Yoga

Yoga helps anyone maintain some form of muscle tone and keeps you flexible and able to do everyday tasks without putting too much strain on your muscles and joints. Make sure you combine yoga with an exercise with a more cardiovascular impact in order to strengthen your heart.

Stretching

Stretching helps keep your body flexible and limber, as well as preventing muscle strain. However, as with yoga it is essential to combine stretching with a cardiovascular exercise in order to keep your heart strong.

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