The opinion of the midwife: sport during pregnancy

The opinion of the midwife

Recently I met Laura Venturi, who works as a midwife in the hospital of Forlì (Italy). I asked her to relate her life a bit in contact with future mothers, especially when it comes to sports during pregnancy. What is allowed and what is not?

Laura Venturi

My name is Laura and I am 30 years old. I live in Forli and work as a midwife. In the fifth grade topic, I wrote that I wanted to be a midwife.

After a few adventures I can finally say today that I am a midwife. I am deeply grateful to life to have the opportunity to experience unique emotions with the parents I support and to share with them the first sacred moments with their baby.

My biggest ambition is that the new mothers and new fathers that I accompany along this path will have a wonderful memory of birth.

Sport and nutrition are closely related: is it true that during pregnancy you have to eat for two? 

You do not have to eat for two during pregnancy!

Weight gain should be kept under strict control: the guidelines for physiological pregnancy define it a proper weight gain if it does not exceed 10 -12 kg.

Excessive weight gain could lead to some diseases such as gestational diabetes or it could be a risk factor for a pronounced or complicated birth. It is advisable to have a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins. It is also good to make small frequent meals to make digestion easier and better.

What are the benefits of physical activity for a pregnant woman?

In a normal pregnancy with no special risk factors, both your physical and mental well-being benefit from exercise: you will certainly be less affected by typical pregnancy symptoms, such as back pain. Weight gain stays within reasonable limits, and gestational diabetes is much less common. Limit yourself as far as possible to sports that do not stress your body unnecessarily. Pregnancy is no time for high-performance sport, because the changes that are taking place mean that your body is already working at full speed anyway. The heart rate, the blood pressure and the amount of blood in the body increase significantly in pregnancy, the pulse rate is therefore more noticeable. High performance and endurance athletes often have slightly underweight newborns.

Sport activities like ski, snowboard, climbing and others that lead to traumas or injuries are not ideal activities during pregnancy. In addition, weight lifting and sport activities like crossfit are not recommended.

Sport for future mothers

All the activities not mentioned above are allowed. Most recommended are hiking, swimming, pilates, yoga and aqua aerobics. Before you start an activity during pregnancy, you should ask your midwife or gynecologist.

What do you say to a pregnant woman who wants to do sports?

Sport has to be fun. You have to enjoy the sport and get stressed from it. Always listen to your body: if it hurts, do not force yourself. If you do not enjoy it, try another sport. The good mood in pregnancy is important. Move as you wish but move and enjoy every moment of your pregnancy.

Would you like to leave a message to future mothers?

I always like to remember how powerful mothers during birth are. You discover to have an energy you did not know about. You must be proud of yourself, as mother and woman. Try to think positive and be aware of the fact that most of the pain during birth comes from fear. 

” Think about the fact that birth is not a torture, but an adventure to meet your baby” Anna Wilde