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Is Bowling Safe While Pregnant? A Complete Safety Guide for 2024

  • Reading time:10 mins read

Bowling remains a popular leisure activity and mild exercise for many pregnant women who find it entertaining.

Based on a survey by Pregnancy Magazine, over 27% of expecting mothers go bowling at some point, though most cut back on high-impact exercises.

As an enjoyable activity providing gentle movement, bowling seems like a safe option to stay active during pregnancy. However, along with doctor-approved workouts, you must consider the potential risks of injuries related to bowling while pregnant.

This safety guide covers all you need to know about bowling risks, precautions and exercise limits if you’re expecting.

By following safety measures and your OBGYN’s advice, bowling can remain an appropriate activity that pregnant women can enjoy.

Main Risks and Safety Tips When Bowling While Pregnant

Bowling offers light activity but still poses moderate danger of impact injuries and falls for pregnant bowlers. Understanding these hazards is key before stepping onto the lanes:

Impact Injuries From Bowling Balls

The main concern doctors have regarding bowling while pregnant is the 4 to 16 pound bowling ball possibly impacting the abdomen. While extremely rare, blunt injuries to the womb from dropping, throwing or rolling balls could lead to placental problems, early contractions or other complications.

To limit risks, pregnant women must use ball weights under 10 pounds, preferably closer to 5. Additionally using proper form – bending knees, keeping back straight, holding ball close before gentle release – prevents strain. Bowling slowly and taking sits breaks between frames is also sensible.

Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards

Aside from impact concerns, falling on the hardwood bowling lanes or uneven flooring poses obvious risks. Tripping over shoes or balls left around the lane increases chances of falls significantly. Spills and children running around the bowling alley further amplify threats of dangerous tumbles.

Always wear bowling shoes with slide protection on their soles. Take careful steps on oiled lanes and hold rails if feeling off balance. Clean up spills right away and ensure kids around are supervised properly at all times. Overextending on the swing or throwing balls too energetically also may result in slips.

General Pregnancy Exercise Precautions

Doctors also advise all pregnant women to follow general activity guidelines to keep safe including:

  • Staying under 140 heart beats per minute during exercise
  • Staying well hydrated before, during and after bowling
  • Avoiding overheating by taking frequent breaks
  • Listening to your body and stopping any exercise causing pain

Additionally, refrain from picking up or carrying heavy bowling bags or balls. Ask staff or partners for help transporting them instead.

When to Avoid Bowling While Pregnant

Though following safety guidelines helps minimize risks, some pregnant women in certain health situations should forego bowling entirely to prevent complications:

High-Risk Pregnancies

Women at risk for preterm labor, stillbirth or other serious conditions require maximum precautions. Bowling’s impact risks and moderate physical activity may not be recommended by OBGYNs for high-risk mothers. Alternative low-impact exercises tailored to health concerns are safer options.

Previous Traumatic Injuries/Surgeries

If a pregnant woman underwent major prior orthopedic surgeries or back procedures, bowling puts dangerous strain on healing muscles and joints. The same applies to torn ligaments or prior impact injuries still causing pain or instability. Check with doctors before bowling to avoid re-injury risks.

Balance/Equilibrium Issues

Between natural weight changes and shifting center of gravity, pregnant women often battle balance problems. Inner ear issues, sinus infections or other illness can compound equilibrium struggles further. Attempting to bowl without good balance frequently results in slips and falls.

Severe Morning Sickness

For pregnant women suffering moderate-to-severe nausea and vomiting, particularly in early trimesters, bowling may bring more harm than help. Severe morning sickness and activities causing overexertion often clash regarding energy reserves and hydration needs.

Alternate Safe Exercises When Pregnant

Abstaining from bowling for health or comfort reasons during pregnancy doesn’t mean ceasing exercise entirely. Many alternate activities provide safety along with physical benefits for expecting mothers including:


Low-impact, simple and easily self-regulated in intensity, walking tops OBGYN recommendations for pregnant exercise. Further, group walking clinics provide community support.


Excellent for joint and muscle strengthening without weight or balance concerns, swimming eases back strain pregnant women often encounter. Classes for expecting mothers are widely available.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga’s breathing techniques, gentle poses and mindfulness directly help with common pregnancy pains like back aches. Controlled stretching boosts flexibility, stamina and mood as well.

Stationary Cycling

Gyms often provide upright or even reclined stationary bikes enabling pregnant women to maintain cardio exercise without injury risks. Spin classes designed for expecting athletes are also available.

Doctors Advice and Checkups Regarding Bowling While Pregnant

Before hitting the bowling alley while pregnant, you must consult your OBGYN or medical provider on exercise restrictions and safety recommendations specifically for your unique case.

Every pregnancy differs in risks and complications meaning blanket fitness advice rarely applies safely. Always get your doctor’s confirmation before exercising while pregnant.

During prenatal checkups, ask providers clear questions on appropriate activities and guidelines including:

  • Have you treated patients injured bowling while expecting previously?
  • Do you recommend bowling for my current health situation and pregnancy stage?
  • What weight, style and throwing precautions would you suggest I follow?
  • How will bowling impact my changing center of gravity and balance as pregnancy progresses?
  • If any sudden pain occurs bowling, what warning signs demand I stop immediately?

Remember, no activity – even light bowling – is worth endangering the health of mother or baby. By carefully following your OBGYN’s tailored exercise guidelines, you minimize preventable harm bowling.

Key Takeaways – Is Bowling Safe While Pregnant?

Most obstetricians approve bowling during low-risk pregnancies within safety limits regarding ball weight, throwing motions and activity pace. However, risks of impact injuries, slips/falls and overexertion are present – if substantially less than high intensity sports.

Pregnant women must use 5 – 8 pound balls at most, throw gently, wear bowling shoes and take frequent breaks. Those experiencing previous complications, balance issues or severe morning sickness should avoid bowling lanes entirely due to injury dangers.

Staying vigilant for pain warnings and checking with your OBGYN before and after hitting the alley lets pregnant bowlers make informed safety decisions. While not risk-free, bowling with proper precautions provides sane, doctor-approved exercise.

So expectant mothers need not force a nine month break from bowling, but should adhere to safety guidelines protecting their most precious cargo during spins at the lane. With some common sense, hitting the pins can strike a nice balance of staying active minus endangering your growing little one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can u go bowling when pregnant?

Yes, bowling is generally considered safe in an uncomplicated pregnancy with doctor’s consent. However, pregnant women should use a light ball (5-8lbs), bowl slowly, wear bowling shoes, take breaks, and stop immediately if feeling pain.

What sports can you not do while pregnant?

Sports to avoid in pregnancy include skiing, hockey, boxing, rugby, horseback riding, gymnastics, mountain biking, scuba diving, skydiving and other high-risk contact sports. These activities greatly raise chances of falls and traumatic injury.

Which of the following should be avoided during pregnancy?

Activities to avoid during pregnancy include: heavy weight lifting, contact sports, hot yoga/saunas, eating unpasteurized foods, changing cat litter, extensive hot tub use, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes or marijuana. These increase health risks.

Can a pregnant woman go to stadium?

Yes, pregnant women can safely attend stadium sporting events in moderation. However, take stretch breaks hourly, wear comfortable shoes, time bathroom trips for empty aisles, and properly hydrate throughout the game. Leave immediately if feeling contractions or unusual pain.

Can you go bowling while 2 months pregnant?

In an uncomplicated pregnancy, bowling gently is deemed safe even in the first trimester as long as you get doctor’s consent first. Use proper form with a light ball and stop immediately if you experience any concerning symptoms or pain while bowling.

When should you stop playing sports when pregnant?

As a precaution, pregnant women should stop playing intensive sports by the 2nd trimester when risks of falls, abdominal trauma and placenta previa rise. Some doctors even advise avoiding high-intensity sports immediately after conceiving. However, low-impact activities can continue under medical guidance.

Can I do squats while pregnant?

Yes, body squats without weights are safe to perform during pregnancy assuming you have good balance and no pregnancy complications. Always talk to your OBGYN before doing any squats while pregnant though. Never push through pain or discomfort in knees or back.

What household activities should be avoided during pregnancy?

Household tasks to avoid pregnant include cleaning with harsh chemicals, painting rooms, lifting heavy furniture, reaching above shoulders, standing on ladders, gardening in extreme heat, applying pesticides, refinishing furniture, and prolonged deep kneeling.

What happens to fetus during exercise?

During maternal exercise, the fetus’s heart rate rises in line with mother’s heart rate increase. However, moderate exercise does not reduce healthy blood flow/oxygen to the fetus. In fact, regular exercise improves placental efficiency. Exceeding safe heart rate zones does risk lowered blood flow to fetus.