Exercising in pregnancy – my top tips…
Exercising in pregnancy is something that a lot of new ‘mums to be’ worry about… There are so many old wives tales, and myths, that put women off as they don’t want to harm their baby. It is now recommended to exercise during pregnancy as there are so many benefits. It can help to prevent or reduce lots of the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, such as back pain, nausea, insomnia etc. Exercise also helps to improve posture, fitness, strength and endurance, which all help your body to prepare for birth and recover better afterwards. Finally, and most importantly, exercising during pregnancy can help to improve your general well-being and mental health.
Before starting exercise, talk to your doctor or midwife, and check you don’t have any conditions or symptoms that could affect whether it is safe to exercise during pregnancy.
The other thing to bear in mind is not to go above the levels of intensity you’ve worked at prior to pregnancy. If you’ve not exercised before, and are now pregnant and wanting to exercise, its best to check with your doctor that you’re safe to exercise and there are no underlying problems.
Once you’ve checked you’re medically safe to exercise here are some of my top tips to exercising during pregnancy…
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
This is really important… If something doesn’t feel right then stop; If something hurts stop, and get it checked by a medical professional; and if you are feeling tired, unwell or generally weak then rest. Take things at your pace and don’t over do things. As your pregnancy progresses you will need to reduce the intensity of your exercise as the demands become more on your body due to carrying and supporting your baby. Based on how you feel, and what your body is telling you, find the right level of intensity for you.
KEEP HYDRATED AND DON’T OVERHEAT
Wear comfortable loose clothes and don’t do anything too strenuous in hot weather. Make sure you always have water with you and drink regularly before, during and after exercise.
As you progress through the 3 Trimesters of pregnancy, you will need to make some adaptions as various changes happen to your body. In Trimester 1 you may have sore breasts, so it will be best not to do any exercises lying on your front. In Trimester 2 you can’t lie on your back after 16 weeks of pregnancy. It’s also important to keep moving during your exercise sessions, and not to stop and sit down, or stand still, in between exercises, as this could cause blood pooling. By Trimester 3 the main adaptions to consider are due to your reduced balance. Make sure you use extra support in exercises such as a chair or wall to improve stability.
DO PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES EVERY DAY
Try and do these everyday…. The NHS have got a guide on how to do Pelvic Floor exercises and the benefits of doing them: NHS Guide
CHECK WHAT EXERCISES ARE SAFE AND APPROPRIATE
Whilst exercise is beneficial during pregnancy, doing inappropriate exercise can be harmful, so avoid exercises that have a risk of falling (eg horse riding, cycling etc) or contact sports where there’s a risk of getting hit (eg racquet sports, football etc). If you attend an exercise class or gym make sure you let your instructor know that you’re pregnant, and ask which exercises you can and cant do. Make sure they are qualified to train you and know how many weeks pregnant you are.
Hopefully this information has given some reassurance to any pregnant mums out there who aren’t sure about exercise during pregnancy and the tips have given you some guidance. Please share with anyone you know who is pregnant and may benefit from reading this. If you would like to read more, checkout out my ‘Exercise during Pregnancy’ guide. If you have any questions or comments please get in touch.