Read our article to learn everything about golfing during pregnancy and what to watch out for while playing golf during pregnancy.
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! You have a baby on the way and nine months to think about what’s going to happen when your bundle of joy arrives. Once the celebration is over, you might wonder how life will change in the next nine months. If you’re an avid golfer, can you continue with your golf game? If you’re new to the sport, can you safely begin now?
Our articles are prepared to give advice. You should always consult your doctor first for exact information.
Most doctors have their own recommendations for their pregnant patients and, depending on your health and risk factors, what you can do will largely depend on your doctor’s orders. However, most experts encourage exercise during pregnancy to keep you healthy. Also, check our article about exercises during pregnancy : Exercise During Pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says, “During pregnancy, women can continue to exercise and derive health benefits even from mild to moderate exercise routines. Regular exercise (at least three times per week) is preferable to intermittent activity.”
When it comes to a healthy pregnancy, golf is a great way to exercise, especially if you walk the course rather than ride it. While golf isn’t an intense cardiovascular workout, it is a great sport for working on your balance, stability, core strength and your competitive spirit.
Points to be Paid Attention
If you are an experienced golfer, there is no reason you can’t keep doing it unless your doctor advises otherwise. However, the physiological changes that occur throughout pregnancy may change your golf game. As pregnancy progresses you may experience decreased balance, reduced endurance and an increased risk of falling down. The most notable difference is a loosening of the ligaments as your body prepares for labor and delivery. This can lead to injuries from exercise during pregnancy if care is not taken.
Follow these steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable game of golf:
- Warm up. Before your golf game, loosen up your shoulders with basic arm swings, and warm up the back muscles by gently swinging your club back and forth. Stretch the muscles of your neck, arms, shoulders and back.
- Stay hydrated. Estelle Paters, a childbirth educator and doula, recommends drinking at least 2 liters of water a day to keep up with the increased demands on your body. Even slight dehydration can contribute to severe problems such as preterm labor.
- Avoid golfing during excessive heat. ACOG cautions against overheating, especially during the first trimester. To avoid it, stay inside during the hottest part of the day, wear proper exercise attire, monitor your body temperature (keeping it below 101 degrees F) and stay hydrated.
- Be aware of your heart rate. ACOG recommends that pregnant women keep their heart rates below 140 beats per minute. While golfing during pregnancy, monitor your exertion levels by making sure you’re breathing evenly and are able to carry on a conversation.
- Eat often. Keep plenty of snacks handy to avoid becoming hypoglycemic, which may leave you feeling dizzy and nauseated. And, take a look at this article too : How Should a Pregnancy Diet be?
- Keep your balance. As pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity will change to compensate for your growing belly. To avoid falling off balance while golfing, brace your body with bent knees and a strong, tight torso.
- Strength train. A strong body will add power to your game while reducing your chances of injury. To get started, get approval from your doctor and sign on with a certified personal trainer with a specialty in pregnancy.
- Know when to quit. If you feel shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, bleeding or any other unusual symptoms, stop what you’re doing and call your doctor.
If you’re pregnant and considering taking up golf, get your doctor’s approval first and begin with golf lessons to learn the proper way to hold your clubs and the right way to swing without injuring yourself. With your doctor’s OK, working with a personal trainer to strengthen and stretch the muscles most used in golf can help you avoid injury. The major muscles used in golf are:
- Back – The back muscles help stabilize your posture during the swing. Try this: On hands and knees, tighten the abdominals and stretch one arm out, parallel to the floor. Keep hips and shoulders straight and hold for five seconds. Switch sides, repeating four to six times.
- Abdominals – Strong abs aid in posture, balance and rotation. Traditional ab exercises (like crunches) won’t work past the first trimester since lying on your back can restrict blood flow to the uterus. Alternative: On hands and knees, gently pull your abdominals toward your spine while exhaling. Release and repeat four to six times.
- Legs – The legs aid in balance and stability while providing power throughout the swing. During early pregnancy, traditional exercises such as squats or lunges can be done to increase leg strength. During late pregnancy, avoid these activities, as they might strain your ligaments. Stick with walking or swimming to strengthen the lower body.
- Shoulders – The shoulders stabilize your arms throughout the swing. Try this: Stand 2 feet away from a wall, placing both hands on the wall at shoulder height, shoulder-width apart. With abs tight, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the wall. Exhale and push back, repeating eight to 10 times.
Before attempting any exercise, however, check with your doctor first.
While your body will change throughout your pregnancy, with a little adjustment, your golf game doesn’t have to. By taking the simple precautions listed above and being aware of your posture, balance and flexibility, you’ll be able to enjoy golfing during pregnancy.
To learn more about body changes during pregnancy : Month by Month Pregnancy Changes
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons.