Thank you to Marie of The Pilates Physio for this months guest blog about exercising during pregnancy.
Keeping fit and staying active in pregnancy will certainly help you with your body’s ever changing needs and demands. It will prepare you for birth and help guide you through labour.
When you are pregnant your joints are less stable due to the hormone relaxin working its magic to prepare you for birth. Your centre of gravity shifts forwards as your bump grows which can cause you to overbalance. These things can cause your reaction times to be slower making you slightly more at risk of injury.
If you perform some of these exercises regularly then take extra care if you choose to continue them.
Exercises you should do when pregnant are:
- Brisk walking
- Low impact aerobics
- Aqua natal
- Pregnancy modified Pilates/Yoga
And if you regularly do these activities continue with
- Rowing but with extra care and caution.
How much exercise should you be doing whilst pregnant?
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) recommends “in the absence of medical or obstetric complications, 30 minute sessions four times a week to daily of moderate exercise”.
If you were previously a non exerciser then start 15 minutes, three times a week building up to the above recommendations.
It is important to maintain a talk & walk type of level of exertion if exercising whilst pregnant. Your heart rate is naturally faster and your body temperature can heat up quickly so you need to monitor the intensity of your workout. Make sure you are working hard enough to start breathing through your mouth and not your nose but you can carry on a conversation.
What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?
Exercise will help you to:
- Keep your heart, lungs and muscles fit
- Keep your weight within a healthy range
- Improve your posture, balance and coordination
- Improve your circulation
- Increase your strength and stamina
- Make you feel better in your body and mind
- Prepare you for labour and delivery
- Reduce minor ailments of pregnancy
- Becoming fitter may help you recover more quickly after birth
- Reduce fatigue and insomnia
- Reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Always seek medical advise from your GP or midwife before starting a new exercise programme if you are pregnant.
Stay fit and keep active to reap the rewards and help you reduce your length of labour and delivery complications.
Exercise you should NOT do when pregnant is SCUBA DIVING.
- Because your unborn baby is not protected against decompression sickness or gas emboli.
Exercises you should AVOID when pregnant are:
- Contact sports: anything where the risk of being hit in the abdomen could occur
- Kickboxing, Judo, Squash, Netball, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis.
- Possibility of a fall/loss of balance
- Horse Riding, Downhill skiing, Ice skating, Gymnastics, Cycling.
- Exercising at altitude over 2500 metres until you have acclimatised to it.
- Exercising flat on your back after 16 weeks because this position can lower your maternal cardiac output as the weight of your growing baby causes compression to your heart vena cava vein.
Marie is a physiotherapist who has a passion for fitness especially for pregnant and post pregnancy ladies. She shares her enthusiasm and knowledge by teaching modified Pilates classes in her local village of Ockbrook, Derbyshire. Encouraging women to empower their bodies, focus their minds and nurture their souls.