It wasn’t that long ago when pregnant women were advised to dramatically cut down on their exercise, if not avoid it altogether! These days we have a much better understanding of the female body, and all the changes that it goes through during pregnancy and giving birth. We now know that exercise is not only okay for most pregnant woman, it is also encouraged!
Every one of us is unique, and that is the same for our experience of pregnancy, so it is always important to check with your health expert, before beginning or continuing with exercise.
If you are given the all clear to proceed with caution, then here are some of the amazing benefits that exercising during pregnancy can have for you and your unborn child.
Benefits for you -
- Lowers blood pressure. (Having your blood pressure raise slightly during pregnancy can be quite common, however if it raises too much it can be a warning sign for conditions such as preeclampsia.)
- Helps energise you and overcome fatigue
- Improves quality of sleep
- Relieves constipation (another common symptom during pregnancy)
- Eases back and pelvic pain
- Reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy and birth
- Speeds up post-delivery recovery (the fitter you are the easier it is for your body to bounce back)
- Helps regulate and boost your moods
Benefits for bub -
- Reduces BMI (which might also be seen as a benefit for you!)
- Boosts brain development
- Improves heart health
- Reduces risk of diabetes
What should be avoided?
- Don’t work out to the point of exhaustion
- Avoid raising your body temperature (work at about 75% of your max heart rate)
- Avoid lifting heavy weights, stick with lower weights and more reps
- Listen to your body. Avoid exercising when feeling unwell or lacking energy
- Strong abdominal twists and compressions
- Contact sports or any sports that require you to remain balanced (e.g. bike riding)
- During the later stages of pregnancy, exercises that involve lying on your back or making fast jerky movements (e.g. skipping)
What kind of exercises are best?
During the first few months of pregnancy, most health professionals will advise that you are careful in your exercise choices, as this is a delicate stage in your baby’s development. Then as you move into your second trimester you are more able to resume your regular exercise routines. However this does not mean take up a new form of exercise. If your body isn’t used to it, then it could be contraindicated as it may stress your body and baby.
Some exercises that are generally safe for all women include walking, swimming and prenatal yoga. So remember to talk to your doctors and once you get the all clear, keep yourself active to help make your pregnancy experience as healthy and enjoyable as possible!