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Is it safe to play tennis during pregnancy?

Experts Answers



Is it safe to play tennis during pregnancy?
Mary Lake Polan


It depends. I tell patients that most sports they've been doing, they can continue to do, but don't take up any new ones.

There's some data to support the theory that exercising vigorously in the third trimester shunts oxygen away from the placenta and the baby to the mother's muscles. That can affect the baby's birth weight, and a lower birth weight is associated with increased risk of fetal complications and fetal death. Uterine contractions also increase when you're doing aerobic exercise, which has to do with blood flow getting shunted from the uterus to your muscles.

So I would say if you haven't played tennis much before, don't start now because you won't be in shape for it. If you want to stand on the court and bat balls around, that's probably okay. If you want to play several sets and spend three hours sweating, that's probably not okay.


Jeanne-Marie Guise


If you're a very good tennis player, it probably is safe. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends avoiding sports with a high likelihood for contact or falling — and that includes tennis. One of the concerns with racquet sports such as tennis is that they often involve rapid changes in direction. With the changes in your center of gravity during pregnancy, these rapid twists and turns could make you more prone to falling. If you fall you could start bleeding if the placenta detaches from the uterus, or you could begin having contractions. Either event can place the fetus at risk of premature delivery

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