Can A Pregnant Woman Train Martial Arts? Smart Strategies To Stay In Shape While Pregnant

DISCLAIMER: We are not medical doctors therefore we cannot give medical advice. The information presented herein is not presented with the intention of diagnosing or treating any disease or condition. This information is for educational purposes only. No responsibility is assumed by the author nor anyone connected with this website for the use of this information and no guarantees of any kind are made for the performance or effectiveness of the recommendations provided.

Can a pregnant woman train martial arts? We have all seen content online of heavily pregnant women continuing their workouts, even during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnant Woman Martial Arts

Much to our amazement, these women appear to be doing heavy lifts, pad work, and even rolling on the mats. But,

However, these videos can be misleading. In those videos, all the pregnant women are either pro athletes or amateurs with years of experience.

Most likely, a team of doctors ensures those routines are adjusted to their advanced fitness level. 

While we don’t expect you to run a marathon, staying committed to your martial arts routine (with several adjustments) during pregnancy can relieve stress, prevent depression and keep your mental and physical health in peak shape.

Exercise during pregnancy can prevent postural imbalances, improve blood circulation, and mitigate any chance of gestational diabetes. This article is for women who are currently pregnant and thinking about taking up martial arts or resuming their workout routine.

Let’s get to it.

Is It Safe To Train Martial Arts During Pregnancy?

While the majority of the exercises that you do are not that safe for the average woman during pregnancy, we highly recommend, regardless of your fitness level, avoiding strenuous activities where there is a chance of abdominal trauma. 

We do not expect you to be Kinberly Novaes, who fought and won an MMA fight being 12 months pregnant. Nor do we recommend that you take up sparring while being pregnant. Most doctors do not recommend abdominal trauma during such a sensitive period.

However, mixed martial arts are different from other sports. There are other areas of training that you can lean towards, where the focus is on building your physical health rather than competition.

This includes things like:

  • Softly working on the mitts.
  • Low intensity no jumping cardio.
  • Flexibility training.
  • Soft martial arts.

If you train regularly during pregnancy, it will benefit not only your health but your baby’s health as well.

What If You Already Trained Martial Arts Often Before Pregnancy

Women who have been competing or training in martial arts before their pregnancy can continue their training. But if you do not have any combat sports experience, we do not recommend starting martial arts now. 

Mainly because of the power and strength required to keep up with the training. That amount of physical stress is not suitable for your body. Please see your doctor before starting any sport or exercise regimen.

find out which one is the Best martial art for women

Martial Arts Training During The First Trimester

Your first trimester will be the most fragile time for you and the baby. Your body will be laying the groundwork for the most critical parts of your baby, such as the heart, brain, and spinal cord.

The chance of miscarriage is over 30% in the first three weeks of your pregnancy.

Data Source.

You might feel a bit of nausea and fatigue, which will prevent you from training, but everyone has a different experience.

During your first trimester and some part of your second trimester, you might feel good enough to do some cardio (don’t go crazy hard!). Somewhere at the advanced stages of your pregnancy, reduce your pace and start going light.

For example, if you were going on a run during the early days of your first trimester, switch to light jogging. After that, you can go for brisk walking, and further on to short and slow walks. 

Bear in mind that you should avoid jumping or sprinting. Moreover, we recommend avoiding all contact, such as throws, takedowns, BJJ, and wrestling. All of this will help you keep safe and well. If you feel sore after a workout, consult your doctor before taking any painkillers.

Things To Avoid When Training Martial Arts Pregnant

During your pregnancy, please avoid sparring, strenuous exercises, or contact martial arts. No high-impact training should be done, and focus on keeping your bpm below 140.

If you are out of breath or feel drained, take a break immediately. Lastly, choose your training partners wisely.

Full Contact/Sparring

A big NO. Avoid all forms of contact martial arts and sparring. Any form of physical trauma to your belly can damage the baby and you. So even if you feel like going light, don’t. Accidents can always happen, so protect yourself and your baby from such an event.

However, there are some athletes out there that have. hard time stopping and finding their way around it. Check the sparring session below.

Guy Sparring His 4-Month Pregnant Wife

All ​​Jumping Exercises

We do not recommend jumping exercises during pregnancy. In the early stages of your pregnancy, you might be able to jump a little or even go running.

But as you progress, reduce jumping exercises and bring them to a halt at the later stages. We do not want any imbalances occurring.

No-Jump Workout alternatives

No Jumping Workout During Pregnancy

Long and Intense Conditioning Training 

Long and intense conditioning exercises will cause your body to use up all the hydration and nutrients quickly. Your developing baby needs all of those nutrients from the body. So do not risk dehydrating yourself as it might lead to severe complications.

It is common for pregnant women to go to the ER due to dehydration. As a general rule of thumb, keep your bpm below 140, avoid stressing your body and your brain.

intense Pregnant conditioning example (Not Reccomended For The Average Woman)

Safe Things To Do When Training Martial Arts Pregnant

The most important thing you can do during your pregnancy is stay hydrated, eat a clean-balanced diet, Take healthy supplements, and avoid all forms of stress.

Don’t forget to talk to your physician before trying to do some of the things we mention below.

Dynamic & Static Stretching 

During all your trimesters, kind stretching will positively impact your body. You can do dynamic and static stretching to keep your muscles from being too tight. However, joints may relax or loosen during pregnancy which might increase your flexibility or cause discomfort.

If, at any point, your joints start to hurt, stop immediately. And consult your physician before beginning any form of stretching.

Some Light Abdominal Exercises 

Abdominal exercises are perfectly safe to do. Unless you have diastasis recti(abdominal separation) from a previous pregnancy, you can do crunches, sit-ups, and light ab exercises. This will strengthen your core and keep your skin from loosening after your delivery.

gentle Drills or Katas 

You can drill movements at a moderate pace. Focus on movement, foot positioning, and form to keep your motor skills sharp. Your pace before your pregnancy might be challenging to keep up. Do not go overboard and push your body too far. Remember, keep it light.

Best Martial Arts To Train As A Pregnant Woman 

During pregnancy, soft martial arts such as Tai Chi or Kung Fu can benefit. Instead of sparring, pregnant women can continue their Tai Chi techniques at a light pace. This is relatively safer as compared to BJJ or wrestling. 

Tai Chi During Pregnancy

Tai Chi is a mild aerobic exercise that is highly beneficial for improving the movement of your body and increasing mental concentration.

Deep breathing methods and focusing on the flow of your chi enhance internal energy.

A pregnant woman can use Tai Chi to strengthen her body to support all the changes during pregnancy and prepare for labor and delivery.

Tai Chi is great for body awareness and blood circulation.

Soft martial arts can help you find your balance, practice good posture and relax. Just avoid practicing low sweeps and high kicks and go for gentle techniques.

discover the benefits of martial arts for kids

Can Pregnant Woman Train Martial Arts FAQ 

Can you do Judo while pregnant?

Judo is a contact sport involving throws and takedowns, so it is recommended not to do Judo while pregnant.

Can you still do Muay Thai while pregnant?

As far as Muay Thai is concerned, sparring is a big no. However, you can practice your punches, knees, and elbows on the mitts. Avoid high kicks and high-impact strikes so that you do not lose your balance or cause trauma to the belly.

Can you do Krav Maga while pregnant?

You can practice specific Krav Maga movements safely and slowly. Focus on the standing techniques only, or get yourself a training dummy.

Avoid intense workouts like pulls, chokes, and takedowns. Approach your practice more as a self-defense drilling practice.

Is it safe to train Jiu-Jitsu while pregnant?

Jiu-Jitsu is a contact sport, but if you go slow, you can train. Please make sure you pick your training partner wisely, let them know what techniques you are comfortable with and which movements you are not comfortable with.

Go slow with your rolls. Avoid going on the ground too much and stop training Jiu-Jitsu in your third trimester. It all depends on how you feel. If your body gets into an uncomfortable position, disengage. 

Can you do MMA while pregnant?

MMA is also a full-contact sport, so we recommend not to spar. Go light and train your techniques only. You can work on your punches and kicks on the heavy bag.

Work on your strength and cardio at a very moderate pace. And stop entirely once you are in your third trimester. This is due to MMA’s high intensity and explosive nature. And neither of them is good for you and the baby.

Final Thoughts on Pregnant Woman Training Martial Arts 

Before starting any form of martial arts, consult your trainer and your doctor. Make sure both of these people are aware of your condition throughout your training. No doubt staying physically active during pregnancy will have multiple benefits. 

Pregnant women can use martial arts to stay mentally and physically fit. This will not only keep you sharp and relaxed but help with prenatal and postpartum depression as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions, please email us here.

Until the next one.

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