Tennis During and After Pregnancy

Close up of tennis ball on racquet

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is looking to highlight the health benefits of tennis as a sport to keep more women active both during and after pregnancy.

Physical fitness and activity should be encouraged during pregnancy as it is proven those who are active and exercise experience fewer backaches. A study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology also reported that women who continued aerobic activity during pregnancy enjoyed labours about 30 percent shorter than women who stopped exercising[1].

Tennis is a great sport to play both during and after pregnancy, given its low-impact nature which means fewer risk of injuries. For those who have just given birth and would like to start getting active again, tennis provides real health benefits and enables new mums to get back into a routine.

Dr Jo Larkin, Sports Physician at the LTA and Fellow of the FSEM (UK) says“Exercise post pregnancy, in particular tennis, is an excellent way to gradually build up your fitness. As well as the cardiovascular benefits, tennis builds strength which is great for posture and pelvic floor muscles of new mums. However take it at your own pace – the body needs to recover after pregnancy and allow time for the abdominal muscles to retract. This will then enable you to slowly build up stamina again.”

Sam Richardson, Senior Programmes Manager at the LTA says, “Tennis is a fantastic sport for new mums who want to start getting active after giving birth, as its low-impact and therefore a great form of mild exercise. The nature of the sport allows you stay in control of your level of exertion, meaning new mums can exercise at a pace comfortable for them. Tennis is also incredibly social and provides the perfect opportunity to get fit and socialise at the same time.”

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As with any exercise during pregnancy, the LTA advise speaking to your doctor or GP before partaking in any physical activity. If you’re new to tennis, let your coach and/or club know that you are pregnant or have just given birth. For further information please see the NHSwebsite for more guidance.

[1] Work conducted by James F.Clapp III, MD, ‘The Course of labor after endurance exercise during pregnancy’

News released by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)