Exercise is an important aspect to a healthy lifestyle, and even though your typical exercise regime will have to be altered slightly during your pregnancy, doesn't mean that you should forgo it entirely. Exercising during pregnancy actually has many more benefits than you might think, helping to ease stress, strengthen the muscles in your back and can decrease problems later on in pregnancy and during labour. But even if you are a frequent gym goer, it can be hard to gauge exactly how much exercise you should be doing daily and which exercises are safe, especially now you are bringing a bump into the equation. Luckily we have created an easy to follow guide all about exercising during pregnancy, so you can continue to work out, feel great and and stay safe.

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Before You Start Exercising

Consult your doctor or midwife. All pregnancies are different, and even if you have been active before you became pregnant there are a number of factors that have to be taken into account before you exercise. If you are a regular at the gym, go through your exercise regime with your doctor and discuss what you can continue to do whilst pregnant, and for how long. As you start to grow and you reach your second and third trimester, your regime will need to be altered considerably to make sure that you and your baby aren't at risk. Talk through your plan with your doctor and make sure you bring up your regime during check ups, so your pregnancy team can advise where needs be.
If you have never exercised before, pregnancy is not the time to start taking up intense exercise, but taking steps to slowly introduce low impact exercise will provide benefits. Tell your doctor that you are thinking of exercising and then they will let you know your limits, to ensure that you stay safe and don't push yourself too hard.

What To Avoid

  • Don't Exercise To Exhaustion

The general rule to abide by when exercising during pregnancy is to not exercise to exhaustion, this will put too much strain on you and the baby. Exercise should be done to a level where you can hold a conversation easily without being out of breath.
  • Don't Exercise In Extreme Temperatures

Exercising during extreme weather conditions i.e. too hot or too cold should also be avoided. This goes for exercise in and out of the gym.
  • Avoid High Impact Sports Completely

Any sport that could put you at risk of being accidentally hit in the stomach or falling, slipping etc should be avoided at all costs. This even applies to cycling or running, where you could easily slip on the ground or get knocked over. Swimming at extreme depths also should be avoided as high pressure environments can harm the health of your child so activities like Scuba Diving and Diving in general should be avoided.

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Where To Start

After you have planned your workout its imperative that you always warm up before you exercise and cool down afterwards. Warming up your body helps the blood pump to your muscles and get them ready for movement, which helps prevent injuries. Cooling down also helps your muscles recover by letting them slow down at a regulated pace, stopping the shock. Warming up and cooling down can be done by stretching out each muscle group carefully and doing around 10 minutes of gradual cardio such as walking on a treadmill slowly or going for a slow cycle on a standing exercise bike. Make sure throughout your workout you are continuing to replenish your fluids, so take plenty of water with you and drink regularly. This will also make your workout more effective.

Safe Exercises To Consider

  • Walking

This exercise is great at any stage of your pregnancy as it is very low impact and can be done at your own pace. A simple stroll around the town or taking in the views of the countryside also helps ease the mind as you breathe in that fresh air. If you feel up to it, you can set yourself goals by increasing your distance or pace. This is also great fun to do with family or friends and can even be done for around 10 minutes a few times a day. Perfect for those not used to exercise.
  • Pilates

A great way to help stretch out your muscles and strengthen your stomach, lower back and pelvic floor, Pilates may just be the perfect exercise for you. This is a low impact exercise that concentrates on using the body to generate great posture, perfect for helping with back pain and strengthening the pelvic floor during pregnancy. There are some exercises that can be done at home, but to get the real benefit and also ensure that you are doing exercises correctly to prevent any injury, a class is much better. There are some Pilates classes that are specially designed for pregnant women, but if you can't find one of these, speak to your Pilates instructor and let them know you are pregnant before taking part. A good instructor will know the best positions for you, but it is best to avoid any that encourages you to lie on your stomach or stand off-balance.
  • Swimming

Swimming is the perfect exercise to enjoy whilst pregnant as the water eases pressure on your joints by displacing your weight, making movement much easier. Try swimming casual lengths or join a water aerobics class. There are prenatal classes that are available that are specially designed to make sure you get the most out of your workout.
  • Yoga

Focusing on stretching and balance, Yoga is not only great for the body but also the mind. The perfect way to ease stress, this low impact exercise is ideal for pregnant women. If you haven't tried Yoga before, try and join a beginners class and make the instructor aware that you are pregnant. Avoid any intense Yoga classes or classes that used heated rooms above 40 degrees C as this could cause you to over heat.

One Last Thing To Remember

Have fun. Exercise never need be a monotonous task that you don't enjoy, find the exercise that you most enjoy and stick with it. You will have more energy and feel great, giving your baby the perfect environment to grow in.

Sources;

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a758/guide-to-exercising-in-pregnancy

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-exercise.aspx


Post By Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith