Exercising when pregnant can seem daunting but experts agree, when you’re expecting, it’s important to keep moving: Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy and a faster return to their pre-baby weight more quickly. In fact all women who are pregnant without complications should be doing some aerobic and strength conditioning exercises as part of a healthy lifestyle during their pregnancy.
One benefit of exercise during pregnancy is improving your physical and mental wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy also reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes, which is more common in mothers who are overweight. Pre-natal exercise will also help with easing pregnancy symptoms including such as constipation, back ache and fight fatigue not to mention regulating your mood and helping you sleep better.
When you have maintained your muscle tone and strength during pregnancy you bounce back easier after giving birth. Research has also indicated that exercising during pregnancy may ease labour and even shorten the time it takes to deliver your baby. It is important to be aware of a few things to exercise safely while pregnant including staying hydrated, keeping your blood pressure stable and not getting overheated. Most importantly to breathe through each exercise slowly and take lots of breaks. A good indicator is the talk test – if you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you are exercising at the right pace and level.
The first trimester will differ from the second and third in that you should not do any jumping and jerky movements but you can still do many exercises standing comfortably using light free weights with active stretching and Yoga. Weight bearing exercise is important to keep up your strength during pregnancy and to lift bub when they arrive.
Core exercises should be treated with caution and avoided in most cases as many women have gap separation of the abdominal muscles (diastassis recti).
The second and third trimester are when you can do many exercises on a Fit Ball in conjunction with yoga and light free weight training when seated. No exercises should be performed on your back after 16 weeks as these decrease blood flow to the uterus. Kegel and pelvic exercises are also great to do to increase your strength in the lower abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and decrease incontinence during and after childbirth.
Whatever way you look at it, the benefits of exercising when pregnant far outweigh sitting on a couch for 9 months. (See your doctor and personal trainer before you commence any exercise program)
Congratulations on your pregnancy and keep healthy
Hope this helps
Suzanne The Lifestylist