Whether you were a gym junkie or couch potato before you got pregnant, exercising during your pregnancy can be a challenge but it is definitely an important part of the process! If you think of giving birth like running a marathon (which it can be!) then you need to make sure your body is well prepared for the big day.
Why do I need to exercise when I am pregnant?
Exercise improves muscle tone, strength, and endurance all of which you will need to cope with the extra weight gained during pregnancy but also during labour and giving birth.
Training your postural muscles will help you carry the extra weight during pregnancy more comfortably and help ease pregnancy related pain such as back ache.
With regular exercise it will be easier to control your weight gain and also get your body back into shape once your baby is born.
Exercise can give you a boost of energy.
Is exercising whilst pregnant safe?
As a general rule, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, regular exercise will do you and your baby only good, however it is important to consider the type of exercise that is more beneficial. Current research suggests that healthy pregnant women can continue or begin a moderate intensity exercise programme such as swimming, walking, Pilates etc. Contact sports should be avoided and it is not the best time to take up horse-riding or mogul skiing!
There are some precautions to be aware of when exercising during pregnancy. You may need to take extra care if you:
Have had a premature baby or miscarriage previously
Have low iron (anaemia)
Have high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
Are very over weight or under weight
Have muscle or joint problems before pregnancy
Are expecting twins
If you are unsure it is best to consult with your treating doctor or Physiotherapist before starting any new exercise programme. You need to ensure you do not over heat, drink lots of water.
Most importantly listen to your body – if something doesn’t feel right STOP.