Tips for Pregnancy Exercise
Now that you are pregnant you probably have lots of people telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. I certainly remember my first pregnancy being told by family, friends and work colleagues to take it easy, don’t lift that, be careful etc etc. It all came from a good place, genuine concern for me and my baby but I was pretty active pre-pregnancy and felt fine doing most things. Those worries though, about hurting my baby were too overwhelming and I stopped all exercise. I couldn’t find much information on what I could do so I didn’t do anything.
After birth I did a specific postnatal exercise program and gradually increased my strength and fitness back to pre-pregnancy levels. I carried this into my second pregnancy and with the correct modifications I was able exercise right up until a few days before birth, I felt strong throughout the pregnancy and my recovery was much quicker.
Whether you have exercised before getting pregnant or not, there are exercises you CAN do. Now is not the time to be trying new sports or breaking any PB’s but there are many benefits of exercise, especially during pregnancy. These include:
- Preparing your body for labor/birth
- Reducing the risk of gestational diabetes
- Controlling pregnancy weight gain
- Improving your mood
- Reducing lower back pain
- Lowering the risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence and degree of abdominal separation (DRA).
Ensure you have clearance from your midwife and/or doctor prior to commencing any exercise and understand that exercise during pregnancy will mean different things for different people and may even be different to your own expectations of what you can or want to do.
Here are some general guidelines for exercising during pregnancy:
- Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Talk test – be able to hold a conversation whilst exercising.
- Perceived level of exertion no higher than 7/10.
- Stop if you experience dizziness, pain or bleeding.
So what does this mean, what can you do? Again this depends on your own pregnancy experience but Cardio exercise such as walking, light strength training, and specific safe core exercises are all beneficial.
You should AVOID activities that puts extra pressure on your core, e.g. sit ups/crunches, planks, push ups, especially as you progress through your pregnancy.
I set up Empower Me Fitness & Consulting to educate and empower women with safe & effective pregnancy and postnatal exercise (and by postnatal I mean ANYTIME after birth – even if you ‘children’ are now adults!). I am passionate about helping women feel great, energised and ready to tackle anything that motherhood throws at them.
If you have any questions about exercise during pregnancy, please get in touch.