Pregnancy is a beautiful stage in life, as it is how a woman can bring another life into existence, but the process does have its ups and downs.
Many people focused on physical activities or elite-level sports think about pregnancy dreadfully. They handle pregnancy like it was a nine-month disability when it is not.
You can indeed practice Jiu-Jitsu while pregnant, but you need to learn how to adapt your BJJ sessions to stay a safe and healthy.
This short article should be enough to give you a good insight into what to expect and how to adapt your BJJ during the different stages of pregnancy.
But always keep in check with a medical specialist, as everybody is different, and they might be able to give you a better guide on what is safer for YOU and your baby.
Table of Contents
Should You Do Any Physical Activity While Pregnant?
Going to the root of the topic, we need to point out something quite important.
Women are capable of doing physical activities during their pregnancy, but they also should do it to have a healthy pregnancy. However, you need to be careful and adjust your routines if you want to practice Jiu-Jitsu while pregnant.
Pregnancy will require a woman to lower her workout intensity and plan what she can and can’t do according to the pregnancy phase she’s going through. But that doesn’t mean soon-to-be mothers have to remain idle, waiting to be ready for birth.
Regular physical activity during pregnancy does bring some benefits:
- Reduces back pain.
- Improves overall fitness and strengthens heart and blood vessels
- Decreases risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth.
- Eases constipation.
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy.
- It helps to lose the baby’s weight after the baby is born.
If you have some doubts and want to stay on the safe side, it might be a good idea to get a yoga mat or a static bicycle.
Light cardio and gentle stretching are two of the best ways you can stay in shape while pregnant, without putting your baby at any risk. Of course, some people in the BJJ community have different opinions.
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Why Does Pregnancy Divide The BJJ Community’s Opinion?
Being an activity in which full-body contact takes place, Jiu-Jitsu has been in the midst of multiple arguments about being good or bad during pregnancy.
Obviously, some positions should be avoided when pregnant—for example, being on the bottom of a knee-on-belly position.
Also, if you are in the final stages of pregnancy, you may want to avoid anything that will put pressure on the baby. This is to prevent a miscarriage.
There are plenty of situations that present themselves along the nine months you will be carrying. But we can adapt the training sessions to make things comfortable and safe.
pregnant woman sparring example
How To Adapt Your BJJ To Your Pregnancy?
To correctly adapt your BJJ training, you will need to progressively decrease the intensity of your activities according to how far into your pregnancy you are at the moment.
You will also need to communicate clearly with both your coaches and training partners.
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At The Beginning Of Your Pregnancy
During the first few months, there is little to worry about during your Jiu-Jitsu practice while pregnant, but this stage is the time for preparation and to have those last few hard rolls before adjustments come in.
However, the first trimester has the most exhaustion and morning sickness periods, so listen to your body and rest accordingly.
Your baby should be the top priority, not BJJ.
After The First 12 Weeks
From the period between 12 weeks and 17 weeks, you will want to have that clear communication set up with your teammates and coaches.
You will require someone you trust to do light rolling and drilling with, as your body will not be able to handle too much pressure before putting your baby at risk.
A great alternative would be your significant other. If he also trains BJJ. No one will care for you on the mats more than the father of your child.
If your life partner is not into Jiu-Jitsu. You might want to look around for partners who have had some time on the mats.
Steer away from newcomers to keep things as safe as possible.
You will want to start reducing the positions in which you are under excessive stomach pressure, like under top mount or knee-on-belly.
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Around 17 to 18+ Weeks
After seventeen weeks, you will have to adjust once more, as you should start to avoid all positions that could hurt your baby and those that could make your teammates worry about damaging the baby or you.
This is where you will be focusing on positional sparring and drilling. You will be working from the top and avoid being under your training partners for safety reasons.
Some of the positions you might want to spend most of your time working are:
- Top mount.
- Side mount.
- Half guard.
Around 7 Months (30 Weeks+)
During the last few months, if you are attending BJJ class, you are likely doing so to observe the class. And your goal is not to miss out on technique work.
However, it would be best if you do not partake in rolling or drilling if you practice Jiu-Jitsu while pregnant. As the baby could be at risk if put under pressure.
You do not have to be completely static, though, as you can still work on doing controlled weight-lifting during the 7th month as you observe the class to keep yourself active.
7 Tips To Improve Your Experience As A Practitioner During Pregnancy
Tip 1) Find a Reliable Training Partner Early
If you are looking to roll and do drills for as long as possible, you might want to find training partners that you can trust to keep things safe.
It is not just about who you get along with the best, but who will be able to help you continue your practice most safely.
Another thing to keep in mind to allow your partners to train as effectively as possible is to work techniques in groups of three.
If you work in groups of three, you’ll have a turn to apply the technique to your best abilities at the moment and then switch out while your partners go at each other without holding back.
It will allow everyone to improve at the most comfortable pace in this situation.
Tip 2) Make Sure The Drills and Warm-ups are Safe
Keep your physician’s contact close, as you might want to talk with them and go through a list of drills and moves that you perform in class. Review and settle on what is safe for you to achieve during each stage.
Tip 3) Upsize your gear with you
You will upsize due to the baby growing in you. You may want to get some bigger gear to wear during pregnancy.
You may want to get a bigger gi and a belt that goes up to 4 sizes bigger if necessary.
When it comes to rashguards, keep getting something that fits loose during your pregnancy.
Tip 4) Keep Hydrated and Keep Yourself Cool
You will dehydrate faster than you think during pregnancy, so you may want to bring something electrolyte-rich along with your water bottle for BJJ class.
You will also want to keep your body temperature from going over 102°F / 38.9°C for more than 10 minutes, which can give the baby problems.
Just take breaks to cool off during training and stay close to doors and windows if necessary.
It may cause your classmates to look at you weird for a little bit, but they will get used to it, and you must keep training comfortably.
Tip 5) Give Yourself Some Slack
Your body will be going through changes, and you do not have to worry about yourself and the life in your womb.
Focus on flow-rolling, and tap early if you need to. There is no shame in keeping yourself safe, as you can’t powerhouse your way through training during pregnancy.
Your body will feel tired with less activity, and you will not be as strong as you used to be. So keep it in mind and remember to train with technique and safety as a top priority.
Final Comments on Practicing Jiu-Jitsu While Pregnant
If you are going to take the opportunity to continue training Jiu-Jitsu during this process, make sure you do it safely and always look out for your baby first.
Suppose you are looking to continue Jiu-Jitsu during pregnancy. In that case, we expect you enjoyed the information presented in this article. And we encourage you to share it if you have friends or relatives who are trying to do so.
We hope you have the best of times on the mats, and we hope you can adapt your training regimen to fit your and the baby’s needs.
Keep your and the baby’s health in constant check, and remember to keep positive and have fun while you are at it.