SAFE exercise in Pregnancy
Are you pregnant & want to keep fit and stay active but are not sure how? This blog covers SAFE exercise in Pregnancy.
Did you exercise before becoming pregnant and are now uncertain about what is or isn’t safe to do?
Are you a complete non-exerciser who is pregnant and wondering how you will get through the intensive L word LABOUR?
Then this blog is perfect for you to read.
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.
As a women, your body is designed to do this but you need some physical strength, stamina and strong will to get you through. It’s not called labour for nothing, it is intense. Physically, emotionally and mentally – are you prepared?
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) recommend:
- Aerobic and strength conditioning exercise
- Maintain a good fitness level
- Choose activities that minimise risk of loss of balance and fetal trauma
- Pelvic floor exercises throughout pregnancy to help reduce urinary incontinence issues
as part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
So what exactly does that mean relating to types of exercise?
Let’s start with the things not to do and avoid to help clarify this.
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 such as
Kickboxing, Judo, Squash, Netball, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis.
Any exercise where there is a possibility of a fall/loss of balance such as
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 15 weeks because this position can lower your maternal cardiac output as the weight of your growing uterus + baby causes compression to your heart vena cava vein.
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. The consequences of a fall can be more severe in pregnancy.
Exercises you SHOULD do when pregnant that are encouraged are:
- Brisk walking
- Low impact aerobics
- Aqua natal
- Pregnancy modified Pilates/Yoga
What many of my pregnant ladies tell me is that they feel stronger, they feel fitter and they feel more in control of their changing body shapes which gives them confidence and the stamina they need for active labour.
If you regularly do these activities continue with:
Gym, Cycling, Dancing, Jogging, Rowing but with extra care and caution.
How much exercise should you be doing whilst pregnant?
The 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, midwife or consultant 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.
If you would like more information on my Beautiful Bumps class it’s on every Thursday at 6.30 – 7.30pm at Ockbrook Parish Hall, Derby, DE72 3SL. Please visit my website http://www.thepilatesphysio.co.uk for more information or get in touch I’d love to hear from you.
If you haven’t got your copy yet click below for “10 super quick tips to fit pelvic floor exercises into your day” Pelvic floor exercises are for life once your have had children ladies 🙂 http://bit.ly/superquicktips