It is always good to routinely exercise. Just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you can’t carry on your exercise routine. In fact, it has been proved that exercise is very beneficial during pregnancy as it can help prevent backache, pelvic girdle pain, constipation and fatigue. It can also help you feel better about your body and maintain a healthy weight, help you sleep at night, prevent depression and get back into shape after the birth.
There are many different exercises that can be done whilst pregnant, but generally women can carry on with the routine that they already have — occasionally adjusting some of the exercises. There is now a great variety of sports maternity-wear available online, check out the Newitts’ website for a full range.
The NHS gives a few useful tips for exercising during pregnancy. The most important thing is not to over-exert yourself. As the pregnancy continues, exercise will get increasingly harder, and a good tip is that you should still be able to hold a conversation whilst exercising, if not, this is too strenuous. Think about what you were doing before you were pregnant. If you were not doing anything before, start with something less strenuous, like yoga or pilates, but make sure you get an instructor who has experience working with pregnant women. The NHS also advises that you start with just 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times a week, which can then be increased gradually to at least four half-hour sessions.
Swimming is a great exercise option whilst pregnant, as the water can support the increased weight, instead of your body. Local swimming pools often provide ‘aquanatal’ classes with qualified instructors. These are not only good from an exercise point of view but also let you get to know other pregnant mothers with whom you can share experiences and exchange advice.
The Baby Centre gives some other guidelines to the best types of exercise during pregnancy. The five key points to remember are: Get the heart pumping, keep supple, burn calories (and thus prevent weight gain), prepare the muscles for labour and not push the body too hard. It also recommends swimming, brisk walking and cycling on a stationary bike. Yoga and Pilates are also good, but mainly for strengthening and toning. It is a good idea to try to vary the types of exercise you are doing, and remember, exercise can be informal as well — such as walking to the shops or doing housework.
According to the NHS, there are a few things that should be avoided during pregnancy. Contact sports such as boxing, squash, or anything that may throw you off balance, such as skating, horse-riding, or judo. Scuba diving, as the baby is not protected from changes in pressure, and exercising at altitude should also be avoided due to the risk of altitude sickness.
Pregnancy needn’t be a reason to stop exercising; in fact it could be a good reason to start. There is so much support, clothing and equipment available to pregnant women that it needn’t be as daunting as it seems.
Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of difference magazines and news publications. Follow her here: @Debbie_Fletch18
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