Exercising during pregnancy is a great idea — it helps keeps you and baby healthy and it may even make labor easier for you. But (sorry) kickboxing really isn’t the best option right now. In fact, you shouldn’t do any form of exercise with the possibility of contact injury. You really don’t want to risk getting kicked in the abdomen, right? Plus, there’s a risk of falling since your balance in the second half of pregnancy is compromised. Ligaments are more prone to overextension and injury due to hormone changes in pregnancy.
You might have to cool it with the kickboxing for a while, but there are plenty of other forms of exercise you can do while pregnant. You can walk or swim, and jogging is fine as long as you stay hydrated and avoid doing it in hot weather. One of the other restrictions we give pregnant women is to avoid any exercise where you’d lie on your back after weeks 18 to 20 since that could decrease uterine blood flow. Pregnancy is not a good time to start a vigorous exercise program if a woman has not been working out before. Most women can continue their previous routines, but with modifications that will help avoid contact injury, over-strained ligaments and overheating.
—Suzanne Merrill-Nach, MD, San Diego-based OB/GYN
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