Talk to me about your exciting pregnancy-friendly sports, and post-baby sport motivations

Updated Oct 12 2015
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
Roller Derby (9)
Photo by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, used with Creative Commons license.
I had recently taken up breakdance, boxing, and roller derby in one go (sometimes all three consecutively on the same weekday evenings). I just found out I'm pregnant, and the downside to the pregnancy is that I'll have to put some of my sporting activities on hold.

Does anyone have any suggestions for sports that are both exciting, addictive, and entertaining at the same time — but also safe for pregnancy? How have other moms found the motivation after baby arrived to get back into sports again? — Eegee

Alright all you roller derby-ing, race car-driving, breakdancing mamas: how did you get motivated to get back into your favorite sports when you were pregnant (and after you had your kiddo)?

  1. I strollerskated to get back into shape–put my skates on & rolled our daughter around in a stroller. Mega-fun and WAAAAY better than going on a jog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bellydancing! I bellydanced all through my pregnancy and Evan LOVED IT. We would do zills (finger cymbals) and he'd blow a head gasket dancing and generally going apeshit.

    Post-baby, I started running as a way for productive yet quiet me-time and ran my first half marathon just before his second birthday. It was pretty awesome. Now he likes coming out on runs with me and watching all the other runners, bikers, kids, and dogs go by.

  3. It's not a sport – but if you like dancing (which I'm guessing you do if you like breakdancing), zumba is a lot of fun and a-ok for pregnancy.

  4. I did some indoor rock climbing in the earlier stages of my pregnancy. Basically you can continue until the harness is uncomfortable. most of the weight lifting comes from your legs so you should be fine.
    I also do ballet and preggo-friendly yoga just to stay in shape!

    • Even after the typical harness is uncomfortable, you can get a full body harness and climb in that. I know of several moms who actually climbed a week or less before they gave birth.

  5. I played competative softball, and my doc approved me continuing on for as long as I was comfortable so I played for the first 5 months. Since baby, I have had to cut back on it but he just comes along and chills in his stroller in the dugout. Some teammates are more okay with it than others… But I don't care, little one and I are happy.
    After that I just hit the gym a couple times a week, right up to the end, which I don't mind. I feel staying in shape and doing specific strength and flexibility work, made for an easier labour.
    I also snowboard and used to go every weekend. Not so easy now. Season was almost over when I got preggers and missed most of last season, getting out only 3x with sitters. For this year I made a proposal to my work(at a school), that I run a ski and snowboard cross program once a week for the entire day so I can get my fix while I am at work! Love it!

  6. After pregnancy, ease yourself back into physical activities (taking your baby on a walk, then maybe jogging or skating). For me, once I healed and felt strong and healthy in my body again, the motivation to get back into specific activities (soccer) came back naturally.

  7. Perhaps a far cry from roller derby, but don't rule out games like bocce ball and frisbee golf. Okay, so these maybe aren't exciting sports, but they'll get you outside and keep you active. They can be super competitive and lots of fun with the right group. Get your friends together, drink some beer–er, lemonade–and have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I biked through my whole pregnancy (up to 38 weeks believe it or not). It's the best for getting exercise but taking it easy on the joints with the extra weight and all. Midwives said as long as I felt stable it was fine with them. That has proven to have a permanent impact on our daughter's life. After she was born, she preferred to be bounced on an exercise ball rather than rocked. We started riding her in a trailer at 4 months old (our trailer has an attachment for infants) and now at 19 months she tells us when she wants to go for a ride. She sits forward in her trailer watching where we're going and if she sees a downhill coming she starts Weeeeing immediately. She does it whenever we can pick up speed too. I can't recommend biking enough ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. There are always lots of pregger women and new moms toting kids in the dugout in my towns city league softball during the summer months. It's always very chill, friendly games if you find the right level. A and B league were a little too intense for me, I play on a C/D league team of women from 25-60+ years of age and we have tons of fun!

  10. I just retired after 4 years playing derby, so we can start a family. Don't laugh, but I kept stalling conception until after our next bout…between home teams and travel teams, that wasn't working, so I had to retire.

    I plan to do prenatal yoga, bike, run…maybe an open skate if they'll let me. Not preggo yet, but I'm interested in hearing what you get into.

    • I played derby for the past year or so, and I'm currently 15 weeks preggers. My doc says it's okay if I still skate as long as I dont hit anybody, and I have become a bench coach/NSO for my league so I can stay involved.

      • I did some fresh-meat coaching until about 15 weeks when the team took me to one side and told me I couldn't skate with the team anymore as our insurance wouldn't cover it and some of the girls were afraid they'd knock me over by mistake. I went out skating at the beachfront instead until about 25 weeks, and only stopped because the weather got rainy and windy and I was fed up being wet and having to clean my bearings when I got home! I was back training with the team when my girl was 11 weeks.

        I did antenatal yoga, walked lots and hula hooped until the day I went into labour ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I had a hard time with yoga while pregnant; left me VERY sore, perhaps with looser joints it wasn't working, but was leading me to injury.
      I did take a great Mom & Baby yoga class with my little one afterwards that I would recommend for a bit of exercise and a chance to get out of the house. I was a super positive environment in terms of moms sharing what was working and not being judgmental, but I will credit the instructor for the awesome vibe.

  11. Biggest thing you can do while you're pregnant is get out there and move. Whether it be walking or yoga or whatever your doctor recommends….do it.

    And stay involved in your roller derby league. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't show up at practice and help keep those girls on their toes by helping run drills or what have you.

    Then once the baby is born, take a bit of time to get used to having another being around to care for. Take your wee one for walks (once the doc/midwife OK's it!) and get THEM out too. Then evaluate whether or not derby will fit into your life the same way anymore. Some new moms have turned "to the dark side" and reffed when their kids arrive, just to stay on skates, and then in a season or two, gone back to skating.

    congrats and good luck!

    <3, Mia Cupcake (Bellingham Roller Betties)

    • I agree w/ Mia–I'm coaching Jr. Derbs and my home team, and it's going to be my outlet and source of social connection with other women. Besides, I want my kid to grow up knowing 80 stellar women.

    • This is pretty much my plan…

      I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and been involved in roller derby for nearly three years now. When I found out I was pregnant I carried on skating casually (no contact, no heavy endurance) and have only just stopped because I have begun to feel "clumsy" day to day. I have been coaching and bench managing my lil European league to stay involved as much as possible and I plan to take some time once baby arrives to assess things, settle into a good routine and do some solo skating/biking with baby on the local bike paths before committing full time to derby skating again.ALthough

      Although I am currently off skates, I am still biking (Hey, I live in Amsterdam! Everyone and their gran bikes here) and shall do so as long as it isn't uncomfortable or feeling like a strain on my body.

  12. I dealt (and am still dealing with) post partum depression after the birth of my daughter in March and the best thing for me has been getting back to the court. I coach and play volleyball and the biggest motivation for me was just getting time to myself, but also reconnecting with who I am as a woman…and not just as a momma.

    I know that volleyball isn't the most "exciting" sport but I think it was hard for me to accept that sometimes being "selfish" and taking the time to go and do something that I love and is strictly for me was really hard. But once I got over that and came home exhausted from a two hour game…my husband looked and me and told me that he hadn't seen me so happy and in control emotionally in a long time – that was enough motivation for me to keep playing!!!

  13. Hah, as a 13 weeks pregnant martial arts coach, I totally appreciate the question.

    Can you talk to your boxing coaches, and see if you can work on heavy bag and focus pad work through your pregnancy? Heavy bags are my saving grace right now, given that I can no longer spar.

    If your pregnancy is complication-free, there is no reason you can't maintain an activity level reflecting your pre-pregnancy conditioning. Definitely a good call to eliminate contact sports though, frustrating as I know it is.

    I can definitely recommend weight training as pregnancy-friendly physical activity. I'm finding that my body is still responding well to fairly intensive strength training. Heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups. I am concerned that as I start to show, I will be fighting off trolls in the gym.

  14. I was bummed to be in my third trimester last winter and be unable to cross country ski. So I went snow shoeing for the first time at 37 weeks! It was fun. It was frustrating to be moving so slow but wonderful to be outside in the fresh air and snow. This winter we are planning on renting a house in the mountains with our PEPS group (it's a wonderful Seattle thing) to celebrate our babies' first birthdays and take turns skiing and babysitting. Can't wait! Oh, and I bike commuted until 27 weeks, which totally helped me stay active.

  15. while pregnant, i spent days at our local pool. first go for a swim, then read a bit, then the hot jacuzzi.. wonderful.
    during my sons birth the midwife told me that she could tell that i did yoga by the way i was moving and breathing.. now (heยดs turning one already, oh my…) i still do yoga and it makes me happy.

    buuuut the motivation is tricky.
    for me: book a class.
    otherwise i lose myself in playtime, naps, nursing and if i wouldยดnt have to, i wouldยดnt leave the house at all.

    • Swimming is great as it also takes the weight off in the later months however taking a Jacuzzi is not recomended during pregnancy, it's supposedly dangerous to raise your body temperature during pregnancy.

      • It's always a good idea to check with your OB/midwife, but it's not always strictly verboten; my midwife said that after the first trimester, so long as I got out before I started feeling overheated, it was ok.

  16. I'm currently pregnant so my husband and I were looking for something fun and safe to do together. We've recently taken up archery, which is totally unaffected by pregnancy. It's really fun and you get some light exercise walking back and forth to grab your arrows. I hate exercising, so archery has been a fun way to sneak it in while I'm having fun.

  17. I had been playing derby for nearly 4 years when I got pregnant (my baby was born June 8, 2011). I stopped bouting but I DID keep attending practice on skates, doing what I could, until I was 8 months pregnant !!! My doctor was totally fine with it because I'd been playing so long and it kept my weight down during my pregnancy. My coach and league were super supportive and now just 6 weeks after an unplanned c section I am out skating with the stroller in some of our parks. Know that if you are a decent skater, you can continue to do so well into your pregnancy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I'm also a pregnant derby skater. Our league has had many. I plan on skating as long as I can, doing warm-ups & drills but no scrimmaging. I'll probably subsidize it with yoga and walking towards the end.

    We've had a lot of moms come back very soon after the baby comes, it's a great way to lose the baby weight and get some much needed "me time."

    -Anne Tagonize, Tampa Bay Derby Darlins

    • I'm jealous! I'm the first in my team to have gotten pregnant and not quit immediately – and at 15 weeks they brought in a new no-preggy-gals-on-skates rule ๐Ÿ™ Even in my last weeks I felt balanced enough to skate still, but had nowhere dry to go – it was too rainy to skate outside for most of my pregnancy!

  19. I've kept up with my Thai kickboxing (still reckon its THE fastest way to get in shape)but I now just stick to private session with my trainer and no sparring. We will slow down on the kicks and anything else as it starts to get uncomfortable bu it will be hard to stop! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I did tons throughout my pregnancy, biking, touch football, weightlifting, rugby practice (no hitting obviously), etc. As long as I was comfortable and baby was comfortable nothing was really forbidden. But, I did check everything out with my doctor first. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now post partum I do everything I was doing pre baby. My rugby season just ended, still playing touch football, still weight lifting, still running, still biking. Everyone is very supportive and more than happy when I have to bring kiddo along. I've had so many people offer to watch kidlet when I'm on the rugby pitch, its been great and my kiddo loves to be on the move too.

  21. I did jiu jitsu and kickboxing before I got pregnant. I kept up with the kickboxing until my third trimester, just didn't do anything laying on my back for warm ups and didn't do any high kicks. It really sucked not being able to do jiu jitsu during my pregnancy. I started training again after my doctor cleared me. I plan on doing a tournament this fall and am working on getting my blue belt.

  22. It may not be crazy sporty but I'm still doing my vinyasa yoga and eventually will add prenatal (I dint do twists in normal yoga, they are no nos) I run (love it) swim, and volleyball , the league isn't crazy so the risk of getting whacked us minimal. I did not sign up for another round of dodgeball and kickball which I loved. Sometimes douchey guys will intentionaly whip the ball at girls (pre preggo I got nailed in the lower back… It seriously hurt)

  23. I'm a basketballer. You might think it's not as badass as rollerderby, but you've clearly not met some of my opposition ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I broke my coccyx delivering our daughter, so it took me a while (6 months or so with season breaks) to get back to anything, but I'm loving it now.
    Hope you have an ace pregnancy and are back kicking butt in no time!
    Team sports are brilliant, because your obligation to the team is a great motivator!

  24. I'm the coach of my soccer team, and my doctor was fine with me continuing the competitive side of it until 20 weeks. I'm really glad, because it would have been a dead giveaway to quit at the beginning of spring season. (I did give up goaltending, though.) She was more concerned about the danger of me getting hurt, since treatment options are much more limited during pregnancy.
    Now that I'm 27 weeks, I'm still participating in light practice (doctor's fine with it, as long as there's no contact), walking and run-waddling with my neighbor. Plus re-doing our kitchen: grouting is a surprisingly good workout!
    As far as getting back into it- Winter season starts 2.5 months after my due date, and it's a short-field, relaxed-rules season, so I should be able to slip back on the field and work my way back up to speed by the time spring season (full-field) comes around again. At least, here's hoping!

  25. Kudos to all you brave derby warriors out there, my derby career ended with a trimalleolar ankle fracture last year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just wondering if any of you yogis could advise re ashtanga in early pregnancy. I'm currently trying to get pregnant, I've been hearing different opinions on what to avoid pose wise. Also not sure if I should change my practice now as I won't know when exactly I'll get pregnant. Did you ladies wait for the positive test result to change your workout habits?

    • Careful with yoga in the first trimester. I found I didn't feel like it and went with that feeling – later on finding out that some schools consider yoga completely contraindicated for the first trimester, others proscribing certain postures that put strain on the abdomen. Check out Gita Iyengar's book, 'Yoga for Motherhood', it's really thorough and clear. I started a modified vinyasa style after about 12 weeks and this has been great. As things have turned out though, at 23 weeks I'm almost immobilised with pelvic instability and am mourning the loss of my active life ๐Ÿ™

  26. I hate gyms so I started getting into Wii fit a little, but got bored of the games pretty quickly. Then a friend introduced me to the xbox kinect. They have lots of fitness games, but the one I'm totally addicted to is called Dance Central. My partner and I play together almost every night. It's the only fitness regime I've found myself getting excited about.

    It's a bit pricey if you don't already have the xbox but still cheaper long term than gym membership/classes and it's great for cold/rainy days you don't want to leave the house. (Which means it'd prob work well after baby is born too!)

  27. The morning after I found out I was pregnant, I took off on my first solo bike tour – from Steamboat Springs to Boulder. I biked beyond my due date (she was 18 days late). I also had a daily yoga practice which helped with so many aspects of pregnancy. I snowshoed and x-country skied all winter, and started hiking again once the snow began to melt. Had an unplanned c-section and all exercise came to a screaming halt. I walked and carried the critter in a sling or pack…but I totally never saw that coming. Those 6-weeks after delivery were the most challenging of my entire existence. New madre-hood without exercise as a coping mechanism and a limited diet due to what my wee one could handle was on the brink of enbearable. People tried to tell me that it was just a small fraction of time…but it sure as hell didn't feel like it at the time. Only now getting back into the swing of things…and in retrospect, it was just a blink of time…but, again, it sure didn't feel like it then.

  28. I rode my horses until winter stopped me which was at 7 or 8 months. Great exercise actually. I also continued the care of the animals which included mucking, carrying water, pushing wheelbarrows through the snow, and brushing. I also did yoga and biked, hiked, and snowshoed up to the very end. I actually did horse chores while in labor! I, too, had an emergency c section which was the hardest part. Forced inactivity does not sit well with me. I was back snowshoeing ASAP and by spring back on the horse figuratively and literally. I believe in keeping on doing what you do, but modify it as needed. I stopped jumping horses at about six months as my balance changed and I decided it was not worth the risk….but I kept riding.

  29. I play roller derby! We've got 3 preggo chicks on our league right now, they just don't participate in the full-contact drills. My coach was on skates until her doctor flat out told her to stop, at about 35 weeks. She had such a large belly that it was throwing her off balance around that time but skated beautifully up until then.

  30. All of my hooping buddies hooped all the way through their pregnancies. Fun, low impact cardio- even when you are not pregnant.

  31. I'm almost 25 weeks and still doing CrossFit. I've had to reduce my intensity and modify some of the exercises, but I feel SO much better than I did during my first pregnancy (when I didn't exercise at all due to an injury).

    • I'm at 40w and haven't been able to hit it in months!! MISS MY WEIGHTS! Kind of disappointed that FGB is coming up so soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'm really looking forward to recovery so I can start working it back up again. ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. I had a baby 9months ago at 6weeks I started training for a swimathon. Completed it in April and I have now been learning to pole dance for fitness for the pass 3months. It's really good at getting those core muscles in shape.

  33. I've been dancing like crazy. I'm a social dancer – waltz, swing, and Irish Ceili. Every week I teach Irish dance and I'm still amazed at 6 months into pregnancy that it's basically had no impact on my dancing. Last Tuesday I danced every dance at our monthly party and was keeping up better than the 18-22 year old college kids I'm teaching. Meanwhile, I've got a great excuse to skip my least favorite social dance – schottische – because I just point to my belly and say "Oh, I couldn't, but thanks for asking!" Then they see me tearing up the floor in a polka three minutes later. The trick seems to be in what sort of shape you were in before getting pregnant. It took til 20 weeks (half-way!)for folks to be sure I was actually pregnant and not just putting on a few pounds. And that's on a five foot one inch lady!

  34. My sports of choice are a bit different than yours but at 37 weeks the ony thing that keeps me off a horse out of the pool or off my bike is tiredness not what the military doctors tried to tell me is or is not OK during a generic overy managed pregnancy. Keep skating as long as you feel strong and stabe.

  35. Double yes on bellydancing! It's not been a problem unless I'm feeling nauseated that day… and of course, my belly rolls have suffered for the sake of a giant, less-than-squishy baby hanging out front. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I had to give up krav maga, which is sad- but I'm in a high octane, mostly male group, and we seriously kick butt. I'm sure there are some cases in which martial arts are 'safe', and you can scale back- but it took me a year to get the "big boys" in my group to really work with me, rather than pull punches, etc. I'd hate to lose that progress by going "EEEEk, don't hurt baby!" Better I take a break for a while and come back when I'm in ass kickin' form.

    I'm SO glad to hear about rock climbing (indoor). That makes so much sense… I don't see why I couldn't be in harness and up there. I might have to drag Boy out to help me.

  36. I was dancing professionally, firing stage weaponry and role playing for the Capitol Police before I got pregnant. Fortunately all I've really had to do was wear respiratory protection and gloves when I'm handling guns and stop going through the magnetometer at Police headquarters (just because we do it all day and it makes me nervous). Honestly, dancing is by far the best for keeping in shape… I'm almost three months and haven't gained a pound!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.