How Far Into My Pregnancy Can I Play Tennis
Playing tennis during pregnancy, even into the late stages, is possible as long as you are an experienced player and take precautions. While no sport is without risk for pregnant women, tennis is one of the safer sports, particularly compared with sports that involve body-to-body impacts like soccer. Always consult your doctor before engaging in physical exercise during pregnancy.
Do Not Attempt to Learn Tennis
Taking up the sport of tennis is not recommended if you're pregnant. Only very experienced and skilled tennis players should continue to play during their pregnancy. Beginners and intermediate players, who are still learning balance, agility and footwork skills, are at a higher risk of injuring themselves and the baby, particularly by falling. High-level players have solid movement skills and rarely dive or fall, intentionally or unintentionally.
Be Aware of Changes in Balance
Even for experienced players, the changes your body goes through during pregnancy make playing tennis challenging and potentially harmful. Your body's center of gravity changes, particularly in the third trimester. This change can make keeping your balance very challenging and in a sport like tennis, which relies on quick directional movements, balance is crucial. If you are playing tennis and you are in the later stages of your pregnancy, avoid going after wide balls. Stretching for hard-to-reach balls on the run can cause you to lose your balance and fall, which can potentially injure the baby.
Play More Doubles
Especially as you enter the third trimester of pregnancy, avoid singles play in favor of doubles. If you do play singles, avoid playing competitive matches and hit with a skilled partner who can hit the ball to you rather than forcing you to scramble around the court. Doubles requires less movement, particularly the difficult side-to-side motions that can cause you to lose your balance. You also can rely on your partner to do most of the running and carry the team for you. Recreational and social doubles can be played, with caution, into the third trimester.
As with any exercise regimen during pregnancy, take precautions and always err on the side of doing too little. Always warm up and cool down properly. Take twice as much time as usual warming up and cooling down. Hydration is extremely important, particularly during hot weather. Avoid playing during the heat of the day and make sure to take frequent breaks for water. A hat or visor can help keep your body cool. Stop playing immediately if you become nauseated or dizzy.