For most exercise is a part of life, so it is natural to want to keep active for as long as possible while pregnant. You may wonder how much exercise you can keep doing as your baby develops, and what routine changes you’ll need to make as your baby grows bigger.
If you have a complicated pregnancy or are dealing with a weak cervix, a low placenta or suffering from a heart condition, diabetes or asthma, it is best to consult with a doctor or health professional before putting together a pregnancy exercise plan.
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy
Improving overall health and wellness, exercise is a vital part of keeping you feeling your best and can help with backache caused by pregnancy, as well as prepare you for labour and delivery.
If you were active before your pregnancy, you should be able to keep training with modifications made to your program. Exercises that are low impact and carry small risk of injury are best and you should be able to remain active until birth.
Exercising during pregnancy can help boost your mood and energy levels, improve muscle tone, strength and lessen back pain. Exercise can also help reduce fatigue and stress, as well as help improve your sleep, all of which helps make your pregnancy easier on your body and mind.
Staying fit can also help shorten your post delivery recovery time, however, getting back into exercise postpartum can be difficult and you should avoid pushing yourself too hard in the beginning.
Exercising during pregnancy isn’t only good for your overall wellness, but studies show that it can also improve your baby’s health.
What type of exercise should I be doing?
During pregnancy it is important to keep tabs on how your body is feeling. If you have been exercising frequently pre-pregnancy it should be fine to continue to do so in moderation, however, if something feels strange or uncomfortable it is best to consult a health practitioner.
Swimming, prenatal yoga and pilates, walking and water aerobics are all exercises that you can focus on during your pregnancy. Water activities are good as they give you buoyancy and put very little strain on your body, especially when you are close to giving birth.
If you were an avid runner before, you should be able to continue into pregnancy with some alterations to your program.
Exercise to avoid
High impact sports with a risk of falling should be avoided. These include horse riding, mountain biking, downhill skiing. Contact sports, such as rugby, kickboxing and soccer are also preferable to avoid as there is a risk of being hit. Scuba diving is a big no-no as the baby has no protection against decompression sickness.