Exercise in Pregnancy
Along side all of the exciting feelings that come up in pregnancy here at Birthforward we recognise that there maybe be a few worries appearing, one of which may be around exercise. Am I able to exercise and maintain a fitness level? Which exercises should I stop, or start?…. The key word to bare in mind is “maintain” as pregnancy is not the most suitable time for achieving a new sports record, but rather keeping fit and healthy in preparation for birth and your physical recovery after delivery.
I am pregnant, how should I adapt my my exercise routine?
If you where taking part in regular exercises before pregnancy,providing that you have a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, and depending on the type of sports you practice, you can continue what you where doing and just simplifying your routine to a pregnancy appropriate level. It is important to contact a specialist, physiotherapist or fitness instructor who is qualified and accredited in pregnancy fitness by a reputable fitness training provider. Together you can develop a new fitness plan and if it’s safe and appropriate, assign you for a specific pregnancy class.
What if I’ve never exercised before?
You may feel very inspired and more aware of a healthy lifestyle when falling pregnant. It is possible to start exercising “from scratch”; however, the supervision needs to be closer. A private session would be most appropriate in this case, or a small group of up to three persons with similar fitness levels.
Is there any exercise I should avoid now that I’m pregnant?
For the general population, it is advised to put on hold any sports that carry a high risk of injuries, falls or consists of rapid direction changes. So if you’re used to playing basketball, going mountain biking or playing tennis, you may wish to replace those temporarily with safer options. A good choice would be swimming, walking, stationary bike is ok or pilates, and yoga. Some people continue to dance, these cases need to be assessed on an individual basis.
What are the benefits of exercise in pregnancy?
Physical benefits of exercise include improvements to posture, which can get affected by the weight shifts. It can help to keep your muscle mass, maintain the strength of your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles as well as improve your lung capacity, especially in exercises that keep a lot of focus on breathing such as yoga and pilates. Exercise can help to prepare you for the physical demands of labor and motherhood, can improve your body image, reduced your risk of diabetes and excessive weight gain. It is important to note, that continuing exercises during pregnancy can help to speed up your recovery after birth.
Are there any risks of exercising during pregnancy?
Like in any physical activity, improper preparation and technique is the main risk for injury, regardless if pregnant or not. Mum-to-be should always listen to her body and inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable, in pain, dizzy or breathless you should stop immediately. It’s important that you notify your instructor and take a rest. If symptoms persist a health care provider should be contacted. It’s worth noting that during our highly digital age many mums seek guidance online. There are endless videos and exercises programs available, and it is always a tempting option to save time and money and just “youtube” some exercises.
No online material can replace a consultation by a professional, qualified specialist who tailors an exercise routine to your needs specifically.
Enjoy this special time in your life, and the amazing ability of your body to grow a new life!
Anastasija Uvarova, Physiotherapist