4 Wonderful Health Benefits Of Boxing During Pregnancy

✔ Research-backed

Doctors across the world emphasize the importance of exercising during pregnancy. Pregnant women interested in boxing may want to know if it is safe and whether they can continue boxing during pregnancy. Moderate and low-impact exercises such as aerobics, jogging, brisk walking, etc., have several health benefits for the mother and the fetus. Boxing is not a low-impact pregnancy exercise, and hence expecting mothers may have some apprehensions (1). Read this post to know about the health benefits, contraindications, and precautions while boxing when expecting.

In This Article

Health Benefits Of Boxing During Pregnancy

Jenny Hammond, a former professional women’s soccer player, shares her approach to maintaining her fitness during pregnancy through boxing. She says, “I just feel like it’s a great way for me to get a great workout with little impact and feel really good afterward. So, I want to continue that throughout the pregnancy, with the hope of having a healthy pregnancy. Hopefully, my plan of working out throughout the pregnancy will help with postpartum recovery and everything that comes with having a baby (i).”

Here are some of the crucial health benefits of practicing boxing exercise during pregnancy:

1. Build Strong Bones And Ligaments:

Strong bones, boxing during pregnancy

Image: IStock

Boxing strengthens your bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. The strenuous physical activity facilitates improved metabolic rate and an easy removal of toxic wastes from your body.

2. Increases Cardiovascular Fitness:

Boxing involves using your entire body and promotes healthy weight gain through cardio training, which improves the function of your heart and lungs. In addition, this training provides enough blood and oxygen to support fetal development, making it beneficial for prenatal fitness and weight management while also improving cardiovascular health.

3. Improves Strength And Power:

Boxing is the ultimate full-body workout that can help core strength training. Punching against resistance strengthens the muscles in the hips, legs, glutes, chest, back, and shoulder. Therefore, including boxing in your prenatal workout would help prepare your body for the birthing process and facilitate smooth labor and delivery.

4. Stress-Relief:

Boxing reduce stress

Image: IStock

Boxing is a stress relieving exercise that helps you remain active during pregnancy. However, it is advisable to avoid practicing hard kicks and punches after the second trimester of your pregnancy (2).

Hammond shares, “I found boxing to be a valuable form of cross-training, and I’ve continued with it, even during pregnancy. It’s a means for me to stay in great shape, feel good, and release stress through the release of endorphins.”

Reasons To Avoid Boxing During Pregnancy

Take frequent breaks when boxing during pregnancy.

Image: IStock

Doctors encourage the expectant mom to practice moderate physical exercises, but for boxing there are certain guidelines to follow. When the mother punches or kicks the punching bag hard, it imposes jarring effects into the uterus, posing risk to the fetus.

Here are some of the common reasons why boxing isn’t safe during pregnancy:

1. Higher Risk Injury:

Boxing increases the possibility of contact injury, and you are at greater risk to get directly kicked in the lower abdomen.

It is essential to protect your belly during pregnancy from blows and injuries. Avoid boxing the usual way during pregnancy. For instance, if you boxed with another person, switch to strength training, stretching, or boxing on a punching bag during pregnancy.

2. Losing Body Balance:

There is a real risk of losing balance and falling on the ground. The over-strained ligaments can easily get ruptured due to sudden falls and increase the possibility of miscarriage. There is a change in your center of gravity during later trimesters, increasing the risk of falls.

3. Overheating:

Boxing can heat your body quickly, which is extremely dangerous for the growing fetus. Remember to take frequent breaks when boxing during pregnancy.

When To Stop Practicing Boxing During Pregnancy?

Indications to stop boxing during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Boxing during pregnancy increases the chances of sudden abdomen attack and membrane rupture. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop boxing and seek immediate medical attention:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Excessive shortness of breath
  • Pelvic or back pain
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Chest pain
  • Painful contractions or any leakage of amniotic fluid

A Word Of Caution

Drink water to avoid overheating

Image: IStock

There are some other things that you should remain careful about while practicing boxing while you are pregnant:

  • Take care to not overheat during boxing. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids for proper hydration and avoid exercising in hot weather to avoid dehydration.
  • Ensure proper nutrition and do not let your blood sugar level drop excessively. If you are practicing boxing or any other strenuous physical activity, it is important to take in more calories than normal. These extra calories can help you regain enough energy and avoid overexertion.
  • Wear appropriate shoes and clothing to practice the exercising regime.
  • Monitor your breathing rate closely and adjust your intensity, according to your body’s capacity to ensure optimum prenatal care.
  • Stop practicing boxing immediately if you feel dizzy, faint or suffer from severe heart palpitations (3)
  • Practice breathing techniques to avoid shortness of breath.

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help you stay fit and flexible. If you used to box regularly before getting pregnant, you could continue doing so during pregnancy. However, you need to follow some precautions to ensure boxing during pregnancy poses no risks to your and your baby’s health. Boxing requires quick, high-intensity movements, which can cause loss of balance, raising the risk of injuries. Besides, it can cause overheating, which could cause dehydration. So, take the necessary precautions and talk to a professional to know the safest boxing techniques while pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some alternative exercises to boxing during pregnancy?

It is essential for pregnant women to remain physically fit and incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercises in a week. Some forms of exercise you can opt for include swimming, aerobics, cycling, walking, and yoga. Consult your healthcare provider and take all the necessary precautions while exercising. Also, remember not to overstrain yourself and to stay well hydrated (4)(5).

2. Can modified boxing workouts positively impact self-confidence and body image during pregnancy?

It is recommended to avoid doing boxing during pregnancy as it is a high-risk contact sport (1). However, if your obstetrician permits, you might be able to continue boxing, providing you practice it with several modifications, such as avoiding any strenuous moves using the simple boxing moves as an exercise and not for combating.

Infographic: When To Stop Practicing Boxing During Pregnancy?

Boxing helps to retain muscular strength and stamina during pregnancy, but the key is to ensure you are not facing any discomfort, such as dizziness and fatigue. Therefore, have a detailed look at this infographic to know when to stop boxing during pregnancy; and get evaluated by a healthcare provider.

signs you should discontinue boxing while pregnant (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Boxing during pregnancy can improve bone and ligament strength, heart health, and strength, while also providing stress relief.
  • Boxing is a moderate-to-high impact sport, which increases the chances of injury, losing body balance, and overheating.
  • Stop immediately if you experience vaginal bleeding, pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath while boxing.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and wear comfortable clothes while boxing during pregnancy.
  • Consult your doctor before taking up boxing during pregnancy.
Boxing During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Boxing.
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/boxing.html
  2. Punch up your exercise routine with fitness boxing.
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/punch-up-your-exercise-routine-with-fitness-boxing
  3. NIH MedlinePlus Winter 2008.
    https://magazine.medlineplus.gov/pdf/winter2008.pdf
  4. Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women
    https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pregnancy/index.htm
  5. Exercise in pregnancy
    https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/
  6. Roger L. Hammer et al.; (2000); The Journal Of Perinatal Education
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595006/
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Dr Anita Gupta is currently working in University College of Medical Sciences (Medical School) & Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi. She has been practicing as a gynecologist & obstetrician for the past 31 years and as a lactation consultant for 18 years. Dr. Gupta is a fellow of Indian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and a master trainer and course...read full bio