Can You Do Krav Maga While Pregnant?


The odds of being attacked while you’re pregnant are low, but it’s also nice to have a physical outlet to help manage that baby weight. So you may have wondered, can you do Krav Maga while pregnant?

Here’s what I found out:

Krav Maga can be safely practiced while pregnant by training slowly and carefully and focusing on standing techniques. Practicing on a training dummy is even more ideal. But check with a doctor before starting any physical activity and share the limitations and restrictions with the instructor.

But what moves are okay, and what can you do if your doctor says no?

In this article, we’ll do a deep-dive into whether it’s okay to do Krav Maga while pregnant, how to go about it, and the best martial art for pregnancy.

And it’s worth pointing out that is UFC Fighter Lina Länsberg in the image above and yes, she is sparring while pregnant! But don’t try this at home, folks!

Let’s get into it …

Does Krav Maga involve kicks to the stomach?

Krav Maga attacks tend to target so-called soft targets such as the stomach, groin, neck, and eyes. So kicks to the stomach are a possibility while training unless the instructor has placed a restriction on that.

As with a real fight, Krav Maga has no rules, and most techniques are designed to quickly and simply incapacitate a would-be opponent.

In a mild altercation, consideration for the attacker’s welfare makes a lot of sense. But, when somebody is trying to take your life, all is fair game.

They’ve lost any right to compassion.

No sane sparring partner will kick you in the stomach if you’ve got a bun in the oven. But, if you’re unfortunate to be attacked by a “psycho,” they’d do anything.

There are always exceptions. You’d find examples of women who still engage in vigorous and intense physical drills while pregnant.

But, I won’t advise it. Check with your doc first.

They have the final word.

Can I train Krav Maga slowly?

Krav Maga movements can be performed at any speed while training. Krav Maga, as with all martial arts, can and should be trained slowly at first. Then as skill and flinch response improves, speed will develop naturally.

Not all instructors are created equal. And, most schools have “styles” that naturally vary from those of other schools.

There are a few instructors who might be more interested in having a large enrollment than prioritizing the welfare of their students. (Fortunately, they are rare).

Good schools would ask you if you have any previous condition that could be a cause for concern and would advise you to get a doctor’s approval before you engage in any intense drill.

And, let’s face it. Even for a person who is healthy and is not pregnant, Krav Maga can be intense.

Even if you’ve found a school that’s willing to adapt the training to suit the pregnancy, the best thing is to confirm from your doctor if there are risks in proceeding with it.

We often want what we believe to be true.

And, there are a few women who still train while pregnant. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you as long as you train slowly.

Each person is unique.

Even if all is well, and you get to train slowly. It won’t be fair to your sparring partners because a real fight is hardly ever slow!

Say your doc agrees you can go ahead, and an instructor is prepared to teach you slowly. You may want to know how much you’ll need to pay for classes.

In a recent article of mine, I offered a lot of details on how much KM classes cost. After all, it’s not just the monthly tuition. There can be registration, uniform, sparring gear, weapons, and maybe even belt testing fees.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Should a pregnant woman wait to start Krav Maga until after the baby is born?

It is ideal for a pregnant woman to wait to start Krav Maga until after the baby is born. But with a doctor’s release, Krav Maga basics can be trained safely by going slow and ensuring the instructor is aware of the restrictions.

A recent study from the European Journal of Physiotherapy noted that “Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy does not increase any risk of adverse pregnancy or birth outcomes” and “All healthy pregnant women can remain physically active.”

They just note the need to avoid “high-risk sports”.

Even if you’ve been involved in some martial arts or self-defense systems before and you’re still in top shape even while pregnant, the best thing is to tell your doctor of your desire to pick up Krav Maga and simply follow their advice.

In most cases, it’s not going to be hard for your doctor to recommend a set of limits and restrictions for practice that you simply share with your instructor.

Evolve MMA, a prominent MMA gym that has produced more champions than any other has the following to say about physical exertion while pregnant:

“Being pregnant is a very special time. If you’ve never worked out before, consult your doctor first. Generally, walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are your best bets if you’re an exercise newbie. If you’ve been exercising regularly, stick to your old routine as much as possible and modify it as needed.”

Suppose your doc says it’s okay, but the local school is unwilling to provide accommodation for your restrictions? In that case, maybe you’d like to explore the possibility of teaching yourself in the comfort of your home.

Is it feasible?

In a recent article, I showed you how to teach yourself at home and actionable, cost-effective strategies to use. While practicing under expert supervision and with a partner is normally ideal, there is a way to make this work for your benefit.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is Krav Maga okay in the first trimester?

Krav Maga is okay in the first trimester with a doctor’s approval. There are many pregnant women who continue training in their first and even second trimesters, but it is best to consult a doctor.

There are women who never stop training in KM while they are pregnant.

Of course, they’ve been told it’s okay by their doc. But, even they acknowledge that the training regime has to be adjusted or adapted to take the pregnancy into consideration.

It’s highly risky if the training is not adapted, even if the doc says it’s okay.

A pregnant woman can’t be punched or kicked in the stomach. She can’t be thrown face down on the floor.

And, the pace has to be slow.

Most of your sparring partners would be relatively kind to you. (In real life, an assailant won’t).

The truth is the kind of KM training you’ll experience won’t be as awesome (read: effective) as what you’d have received if you were not pregnant.

You won’t experience the full power of Krav Maga.

If you’re still curious about if Krav Maga is all it’s cracked up to be, check out a recent article of mine. In it, I showed that KM could be brutally effective in subduing attackers, and it can be picked up fairly quickly.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What is the best martial art for pregnancy?

A “soft” martial art such as Tai Chi is ideal when pregnant, as it is less physically demanding, the risk of injury is minimal, and it can be performed slowly with no partner needed. But it is best and seek medical advice before you commence any physical training. 

Why choose Tai Chi?

It helps with common issues during pregnancy, such as blood pressure, back pain, and swelling.

Above all, there is little risk of injury.

At first glance, it seems like a trivial, graceful dance, but it’s actually a profound, ancient, effective art form that offers many benefits. In fact, it’s one of the martial arts promoted by Harvard Medical School.

The Yang Style short form is the best style to get started with. It’s been codified into a set of steps that you could go through with relative ease.

It’s a series of graceful, flowing circular movements that anybody can do, irrespective of age, size, or gender. The style has 24 forms.

Tai Chi is not complicated. It’s made up of simple postures and movements, which are like a coordinated, graceful dance in slow-mo.

The forms are practiced as a whole, helping with integrating the body-mind-spirit. The practitioner pays attention to their breathing as they execute these effortless movements.

In addition to other benefits of Tai Chi, the Yang style offers a full cardio workout, which makes the practitioner more flexible.

Conclusion

Pregnancy can be delicate and complicated. It’s best to consult a doctor before picking up Krav Maga while you are pregnant.

In the article, we explored whether it’s safe to do KM while you’ve got a bun in the oven. It’s okay for some women, even though the training must be adapted to fit their condition. But, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for you. It’s good to err on the side of caution.

We noted that some Krav Maga schools would be willing to train you at a slow pace.

We also looked at if it is okay to train in the first trimester and if it’s better to simply wait until after the baby is born. It’s better. KM can wait, and the safety of the unborn child should come first.

But what if you want to do something less aggressive?

Is kickboxing OK while pregnant? Check out a recent article where I get into all the particulars of that question too. Just click the link to read it on my site.


Always consult a doctor before beginning any physical practice, including Krav Maga.

This article is intended to be accurate and informative but should not be construed as medical advice. If you need medical advice, you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.


Photo which requires attribution:

A still frame was taken from this video – UFC Fighter Lina Länsberg spars WHILE PREGNANT by MMAnytt and is licensed under CC2.0. A still frame was taken, cropped, with a text overlay added.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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