It is important to stay active and fit when you are expecting, which is why a lot of women ask whether they can play squash when pregnant.
Sports are good for your physical and mental health during pregnancy. Hence, you mustn't abandon your favorite workouts. However, you also need to avoid certain sports that can compromise your health or the health of your baby.
As such, expecting women should try to avoid squash when pregnant because it can increase the risk of injury to your uterus. This can happen if you are hit by the ball, trip or fall, or even make sudden, jarring movements.
This guide can help you understand why it is not a great idea to play contact sports like squash during your pregnancy, why it is dangerous, and what kind of sports you should play or avoid playing during the various trimesters of your pregnancy.
As a squash lover and mother of two children, I was cautioned by my doctor for playing squash while pregnant, even though I was in excellent health. It is not impossible to play squash when pregnant, but there are many precautions you need to take, and it is best to always put your baby's health first.
Why Should You Avoid Playing Squash When Pregnant?
If you are healthy and fit and have an uncomplicated pregnancy, then playing sports can help you remain fit, prevent weight gain, and ensure better mental health throughout the pregnancy. Sports can also result in fewer complications during the pregnancy as well as a shorter delivery period.
Many women continue to play squash when they are pregnant if they have been playing the game for a long time and if they are in the initial phase of pregnancy. However, if you are a beginner or learning new techniques, now is definitely not the time to start.
It is important that you do not put yourself and your baby in harm’s way when playing sports. This means skipping contact sports like squash which can increase the risk of trauma to your unborn child. Even though your baby is safely ensconced in your womb, particularly during the first trimester when the uterus has the added protection of the pelvic bone in the front, a sudden shock or hard trauma to your belly can be very dangerous.
If you intend to play squash when you are pregnant, it is important to consult your OBGYN so that they can make it safe for the baby and support you in playing the game.
The game of squash can result in some risks for the baby and the mother.
Increased Risk of Tripping and Falling
Squash is a very fast and active game and requires a lot of fast footwork and handwork to hit the ball. When pregnant, your center of balance may be off, making it difficult to move quickly to receive the ball or to pass.
As such, there is a high risk of you twisting your ankle or slipping on the court. A hard fall can lead to injury, not just to you but to the baby as well, and can result in a miscarriage. You can also suffer from other injuries like sprains and fractures.
Getting Hit by the Ball
There is a danger of being hurt to a higher degree if the squash ball hits you. The squash ball is made of rubber and is propelled with a high amount of momentum and force to hit the wall of the court. As such, the rebound is just as powerful, and you can be badly hurt if the ball hits you.
As we mentioned before, the risk of being hurt is higher when pregnant since pregnancy messes up your balance. As such, if you are unable to hit the ball, you may not be able to dodge it in time, and it may hit your belly. This can result in a lot of trauma for your baby and may result in miscarriage.
On the other hand, if the ball catches you on the face, you can end up with a broken nose, a dislodged tooth, or a black and blue eye, which can compromise your health for a long time and prevent you from playing the game.
Jolting the Baby
Squash is a game in which you have to jump, bounce, twist your body sharply, and bend to hit or receive the ball. During pregnancy, it is not a good idea to make sudden erratic movements that jostle your body since it can severely affect the health of the baby in your womb.
Playing squash demands that you make vigorous movements, which can jerk your baby, so you should not play this game.
Squash is a fast-paced game, and it can easily result in breathlessness in just a few short minutes. When you are pregnant, this problem is easily exacerbated, and the shortness of breath can lead to a lack of oxygen supply to your baby.
This can affect the health and growth of the baby in your womb.
Squash and Your Pregnancy Stages
As your pregnancy advances, you will need to make some changes to the kind of sports you play.
The First Trimester (1 to 3 months)
During the early stage of your pregnancy, your baby is protected by the pelvic bone in the front, so it still has some buffer from impact. Even so, a hard enough hit can injure it. At this time, it is important that you do not play sports in high heat or humidity or that you do not play sports that generate a lot of heat.
Wear loose and cool clothing when playing sports, and always remember to remain hydrated.
The Second Trimester (4 to 9 months)
In the second trimester of pregnancy, the baby moves upwards and is no longer protected by your pelvic bone. This increases the risk of the baby being hit. In addition, your own center of gravity moves forward, so there is an increased risk of your falling. If you feel unsteady or unsafe when playing certain sports, it is a sign for you to stop.
During pregnancy, your ligaments also become looser, so you may sustain ligament injuries more easily. That is why you should avoid sports that involve quick sudden movements and changes in directions like squash.
You may also experience low blood pressure, so it is important to move slowly to avoid getting dizzy when you stand up from sitting.
Medical Conditions That May Prevent You From Playing Squash When Pregnant
There is no harm in playing a sport during pregnancy to maintain your fitness; however, it is important to consult your gynecologist before you continue playing. There are certain medical conditions that can prevent you from playing the game. In this case, you should refrain from doing any physically demanding exercise.
- If you have joint or bone issues
- If you have any pregnancy-related complication or issue like hypertension, cervical insufficiency, and placenta previa.
- If you are obese, underweight, or anemic
- If you have medical issues related to your heart, liver, or lungs.
What Kind of Sports is Recommended During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is good to focus on low-risk and non-contact sports. These exercises can prevent excess weight gain and can help you with back pain and leg swelling that often accompany pregnancy.
- Play sports that only have very limited contact and do not have a risk of you being hit by a flying object.
- Play sports that allow you to exercise in a straight line without requiring you to change positions quickly and abruptly.
- Focus on sports that allow for low or moderate-intensity exercise.
- Sports and exercises that have a minimal risk of your tripping, slipping, or falling are the best type of workouts during pregnancy.
- Sports that support your weight and do not allow you to become off-balance are good options. These include swimming and water-based exercises but avoid exercising in cold or too hot water.
- There are several pregnancy-related workouts that you should also consider. Talk to your OBGYN about what exercises are best when you are expecting.
The Don’ts of Exercises During Pregnancy
There are a few things you need to be wary of when exercising during pregnancy:
- Do not exercise in hot and humid conditions
- Drinks plenty of water when exercising
- Do not exercise at high altitudes without first acclimatizing, as it can lead to breathlessness.
- Do not perform activities like scuba diving as it can lead to decompression sickness
- Do not exercise for more than 45 minutes if you are doing a moderate workout
- Do not do exercises that require you to lie flat on your back once you start your second trimester.
- If you have any unusual or concerning symptoms, it is a good idea to stop exercising and contact your OBGYN immediately.
- Do not overdo it.
If you follow these tips, you can continue to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy. If you were not in the habit of exercising before your pregnancy, it is a smart idea to start mild to moderate exercises at this time under the advice of your doctor.
You can start with 15 minutes of exercise thrice a week and gradually increase it to 30- to 45-minute sessions four days a week or even every day.
If you have excellent health, no complications, and are an experienced squash player, even playing squash may be fine for a short time. Just be careful not to overdo it, and you will be fine.
About THE AUTHOR
Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.Read More About Michael Stevens