Pregnancy can be an exciting and daunting time. With so many changes to the body it’s good to know you can still keep up an exercise regime – you just need to make some sensible changes as you progress through the 9 months.
Before you get started…
Before you start any kind of fitness programme during your pregnancy you must ensure you have been cleared by your GP, and that you do not have any contraindications (such as diabetes that is not under control, heart disease, multiple gestations, bleeding or your waters have broken etc.).
Once you are good to go there are some points you MUST remember:
- Change your mindset on why you are exercising – you are no longer working to the same goals that you were before you were pregnant.
- Listen to your body – regardless of whether an exercise is safe during pregnancy or not, listen to how your body responds. Every person is different and must adapt accordingly.
- Keep to the right intensity – an easy way to monitor this is to ensure you are still able to talk whilst exercising. If you can’t then the intensity is too high!
- Keep your core temperature down – you must stop exercising if your body temperature increases. Ensure rooms are well ventilated and cool.
- Keep hydrated – ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
- Wear comfortable clothing – ensure you have loose comfortable clothes as well as a supportive bra, fitted correctly.
Exercise during pregnancy
It is really important that you understand that your normal goals of losing weight, increasing muscle mass etc, no longer apply. This is the same for restricting your calorie intake and sticking to any kind of fad diets where food groups are eliminated.
Now is a time to focus on your general well-being and keeping your little one safe and healthy.
With all this said, just because you’re pregnant it doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sofa for the next 9 months!
The fitter you are going into pregnancy the more you’ll be able to do once you find out that happy news. Equally if you have not exercised at all before becoming pregnant then now is not the time to start training for a marathon!
Benefits of exercise
There are many benefits to keeping active whilst pregnant.
Maintains a level of CV fitness – If you think how exhausting labour will be and the demands that will be placed upon your body, it makes sense to go with a fighting chance. By ensuring you keep a level of cardiovascular fitness throughout your pregnancy, you’ll be far better prepared physically to cope with these demands.
Strong core – By keeping your core and pelvic floor nice and strong, you’ll have a better chance of a quicker recovery and hopefully more control of that need to go to the toilet everytime you cough or laugh!
Better prepared -A new baby will take its toll on you emotionally and physically. By keeping fit and healthy before the new little arrival makes it debut, will hopefully prepare you a little more for what lies ahead.
By exercising during pregnancy, it means the road after the birth will not seem so long and daunting.
Shorter labour and less pain – There is research to suggest people who exercise during pregnancy will have a shorter labour and experience less pain. We’ll have to see if they’re right on this one!
When not to exercise
Irrelevant of your current fitness levels or previous exercise regime you must stop exercising immediately if any of the following happens:
- Bleeding, gush of fluids, discharge etc.
- Abdominal pain that you have not felt before.
- Feel dizzy, have spots or floaters in front of your eyes.
- You are not gaining sufficient weight.
- Redness or swelling in the calf muscle of one leg.
- If you have a raised pulse even though you have finished your exercise.
- The foetus stops moving as frequently.
- If you feel anything abnormal, different or something that you are unsure of.
Exercise to avoid during pregnancy:
Road cycling – you have a higher risk of falling as your balance becomes harder to control with the baby bump. Also who wants to inhale all those car fumes when you have a precious little parcel on board! Stick with an indoor bike that is stationary.
Activities in high altitudes – anything over 6,000ft is not advisable.
Contact sports – also sports where equipment is used that could hit you in the stomach.
be.fit tip: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AT ALL TIMES!
Look out for the following blogs:
Exercise dos & don’ts in trimesters 1, 2 and 3.
Post-natal exercise – getting your body back in a safe and healthy way.
Post-natal pelvic floor exercises.
Specific muscles to strengthen and lengthen during pregnancy.
Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy (already available).
Easy meals when time is short!