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Exercising Safely During Pregnancy

Exercising Safely During Pregnancy

So, you have just found out that you are pregnant, and you’re wondering if you can continue exercising safely! Well, the good news is that you can continue exercising as soon as you feel up to it. In fact, exercise is actually really good for you and your baby during pregnancy. Benefits of exercising in pregnancy include:

  • Helping you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy and adapt to your changing body shape
  • Reducing back and musculoskeletal pain
  • Improving your mood 
  • Ease constipation
  • Reducing the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Pre-pregnancy, if you have a regular daily physical activity or exercise routine, such as sport, running or yoga, you should keep it up for as long as you feel comfortable and able to do so!

The Basics Of Exercise During Pregnancy

There are a few things to keep in mind when exercising during pregnancy. First, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. They can help you create a safe and effective routine that’s right for you. If you were not active before you got pregnant, it’s important that you don’t suddenly take up a new strenuous exercise programme. Start slow and work your way up as your strength, fitness and flexibility improves.

Second, listen to your body! If at any point you start feeling tired or sore, take a break. And if you experience any pain, stop immediately and talk to your doctor. During any workout, you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant, at any point if you become breathless when talking, then you’re probably exercising too strenuously, so take it easy mama!

Remember: If you start a new exercise programme, work with a trainer, or attend classes, be sure to tell the instructor that you’re pregnant. Choose someone who is qualified and understands your needs and modifications you need to make during pregnancy.

What Kinds of Exercise Are Safe During Pregnancy?

Most forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy, as long as you don’t overdo it. Some good options include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Dancing

Pelvic floor exercises are also great to introduce to your daily routine during pregnancy, as these come under great strain during pregnancy and childbirth. 

How Much Exercise Should You Do?

The amount of exercise you do will depend on your fitness level and how you’re feeling.  Ideally, pregnant women should be doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. This can be broken into small sessions of 20-30 minutes, or a couple of longer workouts throughout the week.  During the first trimester and third, you’re likely to feel more exhausted – so listen to your body and rest if you need to! During the second trimester your energy levels should start to improve and this is often a better time to start, slowly, introducing a new gentle workout routine. Remember everyone is different, so work out when it feels right for you – and don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel up to it. Just find simple ways to keep active if you can. 

You should aim to be active every day! Sometimes just walking is enough, so get out in nature, or even go for a stroll around the supermarket – do what you gotta do to get some steps in! A good starting point for a workout regime is 20-30 mins of moderate-intensity exercise. But, do what feels right for you! No pressure, or judgement here!

What to Avoid During Pregnancy:

There are a few types of exercise that you should avoid during pregnancy, –  these are mainly those that could result in a risk of injury and include:

  • Contact sports
  • High-impact activities
  • Activities that involve lying on your back after the first trimester
  • Activities which have a risk of falling such as horse riding or skiing
  • Hot yoga or pilates
  • Scuba dicing
  • Activities performed >6000ft if you do not already live in a high altitude area.

It’s also important to avoid any strenuous activity during hot weather, to reduce the risk of dehydration and overheating. Remember you must always stay hydrated when working out, so drink plenty of water and fluids!

Exercising during pregnancy is a great way to stay healthy and fit – and it’s a great way to prepare your body for labour! Just listen to your body and talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Here are some additional tips for exercising safely during pregnancy:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workouts.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive clothing.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.
  • Stop exercising if you experience any pain or discomfort.

With a little planning and care, you can safely and enjoyably exercise throughout your pregnancy!

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