It wasn’t that long ago when women who were pregnant were urged to put their feet up, avoid any type of exercise and sit around and eat for 2. Fortunately these days, however, we have a much better understanding of the changes that occur during pregnancy, and just how the right type of exercise, practised with caution, can help aid in a healthy and comfortable pregnancy, for both mum and bub!
Some of the benefits you may experience when exercising during your pregnancy include:
- Reduces uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy such as backache, bloating, nausea, constipation, and swelling of your feet.
- Encourages better sleeping patterns.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Supports muscle strength, tone and endurance.
- Increases the chances of a natural birth.
That being said, every one of us is different and for this reason, every pregnancy is unique. What works for one person, might not be the same as for the next, which is why it is so important to check with your doctor if you are pregnant before commencing any kind of exercise.
Once you are given the all clear, there are a few basic guides to follow when participating in exercise while you are pregnant.
- Avoid exerting yourself, specifically in the first trimester.
- Don’t take up any new strenuous exercises, this is not the time to try out that new HIIT class you have been thinking about starting. Stick with what your body is used to, or start some low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and prenatal yoga.
- Don’t let yourself overheat. This is really important, so avoid exercising in the heat and don’t push yourself to exhaustion.
- Always warm up and cool down, before and after a workout.
- Try to incorporate some form of exercise every day, even if it is just a 30-minute walk, this will help ease symptoms of morning sickness, as well as help you sleep better at night.
- Keep hydrated and make sure you are fueling yourself with good foods.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to follow your doctor's advice as well as listen to your body. Exercise will help encourage a healthy pregnancy, however, you may find that there are some days when you just need to rest! You are growing a human after all, and that is pretty amazing!