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Is Playing Pickleball While Pregnant a Good Idea?

Woman stretching before playing pickleball pregnant

First, congratulations if you are expecting a future pickleball star! But really, if you’re pregnant and love playing sports and being active, you might wonder if it’s safe to play pickleball. Good news! Playing pickleball while pregnant is a great way to keep fit, enjoy yourself, and stay healthy.

Pickleball is a gentle and enjoyable racquet sports. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, played on a smaller court, making it an accessible and fun activity for expecting moms seeking a safe way to stay active during pregnancy.

According to pregnancy experts from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), certain activities, such as pickleball, are both safe and beneficial for pregnant women. We were curious about the pros and cons of playing pickleball while pregnant and wanted to give you some tips to ensure you stay safe on the court. Is it safe to play pickleball during pregnancy?

Pros of Playing Pickleball When Pregnant

1) Staying Active

One significant benefit of playing pickleball while pregnant is that it helps you stay active. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is essential during pregnancy. It can help reduce the risk of complications such as developing gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, and back pain. Pickleball is a low-impact activity that people of all ages and fitness levels, including expectant mothers, can enjoy.

2) Relieving Stress

Stress affects every day during pregnancy, and it can negatively affect both the mother and the baby’s mental well-being. Physical activity like pickleball can help reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Pickleball also allows for socializing and having fun, which can further reduce stress levels.

Cons of Playing Pickleball While Pregnant

1) Risk of Falls and Injury

While pickleball is not classified among high-impact contact sports, the physical changes during pregnancy increase the risk of falls and injury. As the pregnancy progresses, the body undergoes various changes, such as a shift in the center of gravity and increased joint laxity, which can increase the risk of falls and injuries. Falling on the abdomen or pelvis can have severe consequences for the mother and the baby.

2) Overexertion

Overexertion during exercise is another concern for pregnant women. Listening to the body’s signals is crucial to avoid overexertion while playing pickleball during pregnancy. It is essential to avoid getting overheated and dehydrated while playing pickleball. It is also vital to listen to the body and avoid pushing too hard to prevent fatigue, which can affect fetal growth and development.

Tips to Stay Safe While Playing Pickleball Pregnant

1) Check with your healthcare provider:

When you are pregnant, it is always important to consult with your healthcare provider before engaging in a new exercise routine, such as playing pickleball. This is because your healthcare provider can assess your overall health and determine whether it is safe for you to participate in activities such as pickleball. By seeking medical advice, you can ensure that you are taking care of yourself and your unborn baby in the best possible way. It is essential to prioritize your health and well-being during this important time in your life.

2) Wear comfortable and supportive pickleball footwear:

Ensuring that you have the appropriate footwear on can make all the difference in preventing any potential falls or injuries. It is highly recommended that you wear comfortable shoes that offer not only good support but also reliable traction and stability, particularly when engaging in activities such as playing on the court. By prioritizing these factors when selecting your footwear, you can help to reduce your risk of any potential mishaps or accidents.

3) Stay hydrated:

Staying hydrated while playing pickleball is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and avoiding potential health complications. To ensure proper hydration, it is highly recommended to consume plenty of water before, during, and after engaging in this physically demanding activity.

This simple yet effective measure can help keep your body functioning at its best, allowing you to fully enjoy the game while minimizing the risk of dehydration-related issues. Here is a great motivational water bottle!

4) Take breaks:

It is highly recommended to take frequent breaks while engaging in any form of play or recreation. This will allow your body and mind to rest and rejuvenate, thereby ensuring that you are able to fully enjoy and appreciate the activity without experiencing any undue strain or fatigue. So, always remember to take regular breaks and give yourself the opportunity to recharge and refresh.

5) Modify your gameplay:

To prevent the occurrence of falls and injuries during gameplay, it is highly advised to modify your gameplay strategy by reducing activities such as jumping, twisting, and diving. This can greatly reduce the risk of accidents and keep you safe while engaging in your favorite activities.

Do Pros play on the PPA Tour during pregnancy?

Yes! Pro Lindsay Newman is proof that you cannot only play but also WIN! She and her brother, Riley Newman, won gold in the 2021 PPA Tour Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships – Pro Mixed Doubles Gold Match. 

Lindsay was 5 1/2 months pregnant and in tip-top shape during the match! She and her brother took on Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. She says she felt more vital than ever. She was proving that moms are superheroes!

Watch our recent podcast with Lindsey Newman

FAQs - Staying Healthy on the Pickleball Court While Pregnant

Let’s tackle some frequently asked questions about staying healthy while playing pickleball while pregnant.

Should you play in the first trimester?

Generally speaking, playing pickleball during your first trimester is safe as long as you don’t have any complications. However, every pregnancy is different, so talk to your doctor.

How can you reduce your risk of falls?

Again, Wear suitable supportive footwear, avoid playing on wet or uneven surfaces, and take breaks as needed.

What are some signs that you should take a break from playing pickleball?

Signs that you should stop playing include dizziness, shortness of breath, and contractions.

Why is staying active important for Pregnant Women?

So, why is staying active critical during pregnancy? There are quite a few benefits! For one, staying active can help you manage your weight gain during pregnancy. Additionally, it can help you prepare for childbirth by improving your endurance and helping you maintain better balance. Finally, staying active can help reduce pregnancy symptoms like constipation and poor sleep.

Post-Partum Pickleball

Okay, so you’ve had your baby – can you jump right back into playing pickleball? The answer is… it depends. Generally, it’s a good idea to wait at least six weeks after giving birth before getting back into any high-impact exercise. Additionally, you may need to adjust your playing style to accommodate changes in your body. Once again, make sure you talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s safe to start playing pickleball again. But once you get the clearance and you feel good – game on! And make it a family affair and get your little ones on the court as soon as they can hold a paddle!

 

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that playing pickleball can be a safe and fun activity during pregnancy as long as the proper precautions are taken. Staying active and relieving stress are significant benefits of playing pickleball, but the risk of falls and overexertion makes it crucial to be mindful of your body’s limits. 

By following the tips mentioned above and checking with your healthcare provider, you can continue to enjoy this sport safely while pregnant. Remember, the most important thing is to listen to your body and prioritize your health and the health of your baby. And again, congratulations to all you awesome mamas from the team at Simply Pickleball!

Stay connected to our Pickleball experts and check back regularly for more reviews and news in our latest blogs, or check out our latest podcasts. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more ways to smash your pickleball goals.

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