We've briefly touched on the importance (and risks) of exercise during pregnancy (in this post), but in today's post we want to go into a little more detail about what's safe and what's not.
Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle during pregnancy is vital to your overall wellbeing as well as the growth and development of your baby. Eating a nutritious diet is one way to ensure you're doing what's best, as is getting good quality sleep, and equally maintaining your fitness and strength.
Not only does exercise keep your weight gain within a healthy range and supports your baby's development but it will also benefit you during labour and post-birth recovery.
There are MANY positive reasons why you should exercise during pregnancy, but there are also some things to take into consideration to ensure you and your baby are safe:
1. Communicate with your Doctor:
Whether you've always been a fitness fanatic, or never worked up a physical sweat in your life; it is paramount that you talk with your Doctor before embarking on an exercise regime and continue to open the lines of communication throughout your pregnancy. In some cases, it is not safe to exercise or exert energy during gestation, therefore it is essential you get the all-clear before causing any harm or complications. However, for most pregnancies that are on track and complicate-free; gentle, regular exercise is fine and a necessity.
2. Avoid Contact and/or Dangerous Sports:
For obvious reasons (the safety of your baby and changing body) do not participate in physical contact sports during your pregnancy and avoid high adrenalin dangerous activities. Anything that puts you and your growing belly at risk of major injury is not safe.
3. Check with Your Coach/Trainer/Instructor:
Make sure you tell your coach/personal trainer/instructor/teacher that you are pregnant (it may not be visually obvious in the first trimester - never assume that they know) and constantly communicate with them to ensure what you're doing is safe and modified when needed. Along with your communications with your Doctor, together everyone can assist you in making healthy, safe decisions on your exercise programs.
4. Always Warm Up and Down:
Your muscles, ligaments and organs are all under extra pressure during pregnancy therefore it is essential you gently warm up before embarking on exercising sessions. Stretch before and after and allow your heart rate to increase gradually.
5. Don't Overdo it:
Unless you are a professional athlete who was extremely fit before pregnancy, and you've had the all-clear from your Doctor; it is very important you don't choose to overdo your exertion during pregnancy. Your body won't cope with the sudden strain. Ensure you don't overheat your body temperature and/or raise your heart rate to the extreme. Exercise during pregnancy is about nourishing your body, not harming or punishing it. It's more about gaining strength, maintaining fitness levels, getting oxygen and blood pumping through your body and giving your baby the best start to life.
6. Be Selective:
Be selective in the types of exercise you do during pregnancy. Research local options by searching online or asking your health/community centre. Try low impact exercises to begin with, such as:
- water aerobics
- prenatal yoga and/or pilates
- group workouts designed specifically for pregnant women
(Again, ensure you tell your team/trainers that you are pregnant)
7. Stay Hydrated and Re-energise with Good Food:
Drink plenty of water, especially before, during and after any form of exercise. In conjunction with your exercise eat a fresh, nutritious diet that gives you good energy, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, a suitable amount of folate, iron and protein.
Plenty of fresh water + a good diet + regular exercise = a happy, healthy Mum and Bub.
Get moving ladies - your body and baby will thank you for it.
Enjoy some fresh air and fresh food and be consistent. Exercise also produces endorphins which are known as a natural high stimulant. A great way to clear your mind, increase your energy levels and gain some positivity is to simply MOVE.