Mercy's Dr. Carolyn Cokes Discusses: Okay to Play Sports When Pregnant?

November 16, 2020
The Family Childbirth and Children's Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Carolyn Cokes, M.D., MPH, is an obstetrician-gynecologist with the Metropolitan OB-GYN group, a Baltimore based OB-GYN practice affiliated with Mercy. In responding to a media query about sports one can safely play while pregnant, Dr. Cokes offered these remarks:

For physical activity in general in pregnancy we recommend that whatever you were doing prior to the pregnancy you can continue, within reason. Anything that involves potential abdominal trauma though, we warn against, so no kick boxing, karate, or most sports that involve balls.

Walking or running are both encouraged, you just have to listen to your body (e.g. if it hurts, don't do it). Yoga is a nice way to stay active throughout pregnancy and there are a lot of levels from beginner to advanced, just use modifications where needed, limit twisting poses and skip inversions.

Dancing or dance classes are also a good option. Swimming is one of my favorite sports for pregnant women, or even water based aerobics.

We recommend at least 30 min of activity, on 5 days of the week for pregnant women. And of course keeping well hydrated throughout pregnancy is most important. Old guidelines, of keeping heartrate below a certain number, or that bedrest is recommended for most pregnant women are NOT founded in any evidence base.  And if they have any questions about a particular sport they can ask their obstetrician.

-- Carolyn Cokes, M.D., MPH

Dr. Cokes completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY. She is dedicated to meeting the gynecologic health needs of women of all ages, from adolescence and childbearing years, to menopause and beyond. Dr. Cokes sees patients in the Family Childbirth and Children’s Center at Mercy Medical Center.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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