Pregnancy Exercise

pregnant woman bowling, can you bowl while pregnant
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Can You Bowl While Pregnant? Experts Weigh In

Here’s how to get a strike while still staying safe.

Growing a human is hard work, which might explain why you just feel like crashing on the couch or lying down a lot. But getting in enough exercise is an important part of pregnancy, and so you’ll need to find ways to incorporate cardio or some other method of movement into your health and wellness routine. If a gym just isn’t your thing, you can look for other forms of exercise to get your heart racing (in a good way). If being at a bowling alley bowls you over, it’s understandable to want to know if you can bowl while pregnant. This is what you need to know in order to avoid a gutter ball.

Is it safe to bowl during pregnancy?

Getting exercise during pregnancy is crucial, particularly for your body as well as your mind. Pregnant women who are physically active can reduce their risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis, according to a PubMed study. Heck, it might even help reduce the length of labor and potential delivery issues, researchers further found. But does bowling count as exercise? It certainly does, says Lexi Stromberg, a licensed physical therapist assistant. “You can bowl while pregnant especially if bowling was a part of your normal routine prior to pregnancy,” she says. “Bowling is low impact and can be a fun social event to participate in to keep you active during pregnancy.”

What should you watch out for if you’re bowling while pregnant?

Although you can have a ball while bowling, it’s not without its own risks. It can cause injuries, (particularly of the hand and upper extremities) “due to acute or reparative forces,” researchers found. So even though you’re used to swinging your bowling ball a certain way, make sure that you keep safety in mind… so that you don’t accidentally bump that big ol’ bowling ball belly of yours. “Activities like bowling are totally appropriate, but a pregnant person should be mindful that if there is pain while lifting or swinging the ball that they should modulate accordingly,” Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, M.D., an OB-GYN and cofounder of Tribe Called V tells Romper. “These activities will not harm the pregnancy, but may cause damage to ligaments in particular.”

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Is it safe to bowl during the third trimester?

“It is safe to bowl during the third trimester but you might find it tricky to get into position,” Rachel MacPherson, a certified personal trainer explains to Romper. “In this case, it might be easier to bowl by sending the ball between your legs with a two-handed release instead of a single hand at your side.” And if you feel unsteady after a swing, or experience any strain or pain in your hips, back, or abdomen, stop right away.

Stromberg agrees, adding: “Be mindful of decreased balance and proprioception as well as joint laxity in the shoulder,” she says. “Make sure you are activating your core muscles and are demonstrating proper technique and form to avoid injury.”

Unless you have a pregnancy condition that would prevent you from exercising (like preterm labor, placenta previa, or preeclampsia), get ready to slip on those oh-so-attractive rental shoes and score a strike.

Studies referenced:

Evenson, K., Barakat, R., Brown, W., Dargent-Molina, P., Haruna, M., Mikkelsen, E., Mottola, M., Owe, K., Rousham, E., Yeo, S. (2015) Guidelines for Physical Activity during Pregnancy: Comparisons From Around the World,

Miller, S., Rayan, G. (1998) Bowling related injuries of the hand and upper extremity; a review,

Sources interviewed:

Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, M.D., an OB-GYN and cofounder of Tribe Called V

Lexi Stromberg, a licensed physical therapist assistant

Rachel MacPherson, a certified personal trainer