Exercise is part and parcel of a healthy routine during pregnancy. There are many health benefits of completing regular physical activity throughout pregnancy, including adequately preparing your body for childbirth. Choosing a suitable exercise program to suit your specific circumstances is essential, as pregnancy affects the body’s response to physical activity.
It is important to consider the level and type of exercise that you take part in, to stay safe during pregnancy. To make sure that your exercise routine isn’t harmful you may want to consult your maternity clinic and healthcare professional.
The Benefits Of Exercise In Pregnancy
Being active in pregnancy is not only good for you but also for your baby. Regular exercise can improve how you feel physically and emotionally. Physical activity can:
- Improve your sleep patterns
- Increase your fitness level
- Help with weight management
- Boost your energy levels
- Manage stress
- Reduce constipation
- Improve your mood
It is critical that pregnant women don’t exhaust themselves. Light to moderate exercise is all that is needed during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses you may need to slow down or stop exercising altogether if your healthcare professional advises you to. Becoming breathless as you talk is a good indicator that you are exercising at a higher impact level than you should be.
It is important not to take up strenuous exercise whilst pregnant if you weren’t already active prior to pregnancy. If you were to initiate an impact aerobics program, you should inform your trainer and gradually increase your program.
For example you may want to start with 15 minutes of exercise a few times per week and gradually increase it to 30 minutes each time you train. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous and any exercise is more beneficial than none at all.
- Always warm up prior to exercise and cool down post exercise
- Try to complete some sort of physical activity each day, even if it is just a walk
- Avoid high impact activities in the heat or humidity
Drink plenty of water
- Swimming can take the pressure off your joints and help to support any extra weight
- Choose low impact activities such as walking
Activities To Avoid
- Contact sports where there is a risk of being knocked or hit
- Activities where there is a risk of falling or losing your balance e.g. horseback riding
- Substantial changes in pressure such as scuba diving or high altitude training
- Repetitive high impact activities
- Exercises where you have to lie flat, especially after 16 weeks as there is increased pressure on your blood vessels
Signs To Stop
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feeling faint
- Pain, swelling or redness
- Vaginal bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reduced movement from your baby
The following exercises will help to strengthen your muscles, which will allow you to carry extra weight in your pregnancy. Completing them regularly will also make you stronger, improve your circulation and benefit your wellbeing.
As your baby increases in size, the hollow in your lower back increases, which can lead to back pain. Cat, cow yoga flow can assist with strengthening your abdominal muscles and ease any back pain.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which are put under substantial pressure during pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the end of the backbone.
There are many considerations to make when exercising during pregnancy. From the many benefits that it provides to exercise tips and exercises for a healthier pregnancy. It is also important to identify activities to avoid and signs to stop engaging in physical activity.
To make sure you are choosing the optimum exercise program for your needs you may want to consult your healthcare professional. Dr Kelvin Larwood is an exceptional obstetrician who can assist you throughout your entire pregnancy journey. Get in touch with our friendly and professional team today to support you through your pregnancy.