Serena played tennis while pregnant – should you?

Serena Williams’ hinted pregnancy has taken twitter by storm this week, and although it may be good for publicity, is exercise good for her baby?

The tennis player posted a picture of herself on Snapchat yesterday (19 April), with the caption ’20 weeks’. This means she was pregnant when she won the Australian Open in January. So, what would the doctor have to say about this?

“Generally speaking, pregnant women can play tennis early in pregnancy. In fact, the cardiovascular activity is good for mom, and as a rule of thumb: what’s good for mom, is good for baby. However, later in the pregnancy, it can be difficult to play – for obvious reasons. More importantly, though, there are real risks to the baby,” says Dr. Albert Viljoen.

You needn’t do what Serena did, but do something.
It’s important to remember that Serena’s body is used to the level and intensity of her sport. She didn’t suddenly pick up a racquet when she fell pregnant: this baseline condition of the body determines what you can do while you’re pregnant.

So, moms-to-be, before you take up a new sport, ask Hello Doctor. If you don’t have a high risk pregnancy, you should be able to do most exercises. Sports that are generally discouraged are those that put you at risk of falling, like skiing, mountain biking, gymnastics, surfing, trail-running or horseback riding.

Beyond your own health, exercise can also improve the health and brain development of your baby. For some ideas on what exercises you can try, have a look at the exercises you can do when you’re expecting.

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