Taekwon-do & Pregnancy

10 Tips for Martial Arts Training While Pregnant 

1. If pregnant, don’t begin a sport you’ve never done before.

2. Consult other women who have done martial arts while pregnant. In my case, I was lucky to be able to consult with others, who had trained while pregnant. Regarding the question of whether I should keep training, the answers varied. Some practiced a gentle version of martial arts. Others trained vigorously. Talk to people. Get a sense of how others have handled pregnant exercise. Then decide for yourself.

3. It’s okay to breathe loudly. I was doing drills once, when someone commented that my breathing was very loud. Yes, I sounded like Darth Vader. But at least I was practicing! I was practicing front stances up and down the dojo, despite carrying thirty extra pounds!

4. DON’T SPAR! Or do any interactive drills, particularly those involving strikes to your solar plexus. This rule stands even if you consider yourself mistress of sparring, skillful enough to block even the swiftest attacks. What is someone actually hits you? It’s just not fair to ask them to take on this extra responsibility, and risk the potential guilt.

5. If you feel off balance, keep your stances high. You don’t have to prove that you can do a kiba dachi (“horse”) stance with your knees wide and your butt tucked in, so low to the ground that it looks like you’re riding a snake rather than a horse. There will be plenty of time in the future to show off your stances.

6. On the other hand, keep your stances low to the ground. There is nothing like an extra thirty pounds to lower your centre of gravity. Of course, it can be hard to get back out of a stance, too. You don’t want to experience the indignity of someone having to pull you up. Use your judgement.

7. And the flexibility! Because your joints are loose, you will do front stances like you’ve never done before. Your legs will scissor so easily that you will look like you’re doing the splits. Your side kicks will blast out like yoyos. But, be warned: you also risk dislocating your joints. Don’t overdo it.

8. If  you can’t do martial arts, do another sport. For the first three months of being pregnant with my second child, I experienced debilitating fatigue. I also suffered, for the first time in my life, from acute headaches. I could barely stand, let alone punch and kick. So I took up swimming. For three months, I swam lengths at my local salt-water pool. Swimming allowed me to stay fit, and being in the water calmed my nausea. When I went back to martial arts in my fourth month, I was fit enough to resume training where I’d left off.

9. If you can’t train physically, train your mind. Focus on whatever you like to do, and do it with the attitude of a martial artist with intent, with razor-like focus, and with persistence.

10. And don’t do this: worry too much about training. In time, you’ll be in full form, back in the dojo.

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