If you are healthy and have had no complications with your pregnancy, it is safe to bowl while pregnant. As your pregnancy continues, you may have to adjust your game, but it can still be a safe and enjoyable form of exercise.
Exercise can be important during pregnancy, and bowling is a low-impact form of exercise that can help you stay active until your due date. Most healthcare professionals recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise a day as healthy for a pregnant person. The ideal exercise is one that is both low-impact and low-risk for falling, and bowling fits into that well.
But can bowling harm you or your baby during pregnancy? How would you know? For how long during my pregnancy can I continue bowling? These are things to be mindful of; when to stop and what you can expect as your pregnancy progresses.
Can Bowling Cause a Miscarriage?
Bowling, like any form of exercise, cannot cause a miscarriage in a healthy pregnancy. If you did not bowl before becoming pregnant, or if you are experiencing complications in your pregnancy, be sure to ask your doctor if bowling is safe for you.
There are some warning signs that you can look out for, however. When you are bowling or exercising stop and see your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Dizziness or fainting
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Vaginal leaking or gushing
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Regular and painful contractions
Bowling by Trimester
Your body changes during pregnancy, and not all the changes are the baby growing! These changes could affect the way you bowl, and if you’re a regular bowler, you may want to think about how you play the sport and adjust as needed.
Bowling can become uncomfortable and tricky as your pregnancy continues. Some things to keep in mind is that as your baby grows, you rely more on your back for support. Try not to strain it any more with dipping for a ball or bending.
Your center of gravity will shift as your baby grows and your balance may become unsteady. Plant your feet firmly when standing or sitting and be on the lookout for tripping hazards. When you bowl, try not to twist too much as you play, as that could strain your waist or offset your balance worse.
Your joints will weaken or loosen, and you’ll need more upper body muscle to keep bowling. Don’t overexert your arms or shoulders and know that you may not be able to lift or carry what you used to.
Every pregnancy is different, so some changes do not occur at the same times for everyone. Listen to your body, especially as you bowl or exercise.
First Trimester (0-12 weeks)
Your first trimester can be a challenge as your body’s hormones start to kick into overdrive. Some things will directly affect your bowling. You may experience light-headedness, nausea, and frequent exhaustion. Rest when you need it and stay hydrated.
As you progress along your pregnancy, try not to bend at the waist too much, or put any unnecessary weight on your lower back and hips. Avoid trips and falls, especially at the bowling alley.
If you are mindful of your symptoms and don’t push yourself, you can bowl to your heart’s content!
Second Trimester (12-24 weeks)
As your baby grows, so too does your belly, and that can directly affect your center of balance. At this stage you may experience dizziness, so be sure to warm the bench if you need to.
After bowling, and any other exercise, take a warm bath or do leg stretches to avoid any cramping that could occur.
Some tips to enjoy bowling during this time:
- Pick a lighter ball. Bowling balls can be heavy, putting pressure on joints, so go for the light, little pink one!
- Use your knees. Instead of stubbornly using your back, bend with your knees. It will give you a good sense of balance and alleviate back aches.
- Don’t strain. Don’t do anything that feels painful or uncomfortable, or you have to push yourself for.
We recommend using a 6 pound bowling ball like the Tzone Ultraviolet Sunrise Ball. It’s high quality, and is super lightweight which makes it a good choice if you plan on bowling while pregnant.
Third Trimester (24-40 weeks)
This is the home stretch! Keep in mind the warning signs while exercising and bowling, and really pay attention to what your body tells you. Make sure to follow all the health guidelines for your pregnancy, at home and while bowling.
You can expect more backaches, Braxton-Hicks contractions (false contractions), more frequent leg cramps, limb and face swelling, and dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure.
Follow the advice from the second trimester (as pertains to your bowling), along with some caveats:
- Size up your shoes. If you rent shoes from your bowling alley, don’t be afraid to go a size up to accommodate any swelling that can occur.
- Buy your own shoes. There are cost-friendly options for pregnancy bowling shoes, so if you plan on bowling throughout your trimesters, maybe pick out your own and make sure they’re comfy.
- Elevate your feet. While waiting for your turn at the pins, keep your feet up on a chair to reduce swelling.
- Limit your caffeine intake, avoid spicy or fatty foods, and hydrate. This can help reduce swelling and indigestion.
- Rest often. It isn’t an understatement that further-along pregnancies require more rest. So take it easy.
- Go with a friend. Don’t go bowling alone at this stage, you want someone with you that can drive you to ER in case anything happens.
It is safe and healthy to continue bowling while pregnant. Even through all three trimesters, you can keep pulling in strike after strike if you take care of yourself properly.
Know your body’s warning signs in case of an emergency. Adapt your bowling to your changing body. Respect your limitations and adjust your game to make sure that the sport is safe and comfortable for you.
By following this simple guide, you can keep on bowling until your little one is born.