During the duration of your pregnancy, it’s very important that you keep active. There are a number of reasons for this: it can have positive impact on your labour, it’s a great way to help combat fatigue, backaches, swelling and keep you feeling energised, it will help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and it’s a great habit to get into for the postpartum period.
Exercising during pregnancy is very important for your health and the health of your baby, but it can be tough, especially as your baby grows. Here are some helpful tips.
Exercise is a crucial element of your overall wellbeing, and this doesn’t change when you fall pregnant. But there are some things you need to consider.
Your body goes through a wide range of changes throughout your three trimesters, and you will need to take measures to ensure your baby is safe. Here are some helpful tips for exercising during pregnancy.
Speak With Your Obstetrician
First things first: speak with your obstetrician. Every pregnancy is different, and your obstetrician will be able to give advice that is specific to you. This will consider any health risks that may affect you or your baby, your age and weight, and any other health issues relevant to your pregnancy. Your first appointment is a great opportunity to discuss exercise.
Keep It Light
While you may be keen to implement a stringent exercise regime right away, it is important not go too hard. There are some exercises you will want to avoid while you are pregnant. Use your common sense here: no combat sports or martial arts, don’t over-do weight training, be wary of anything dangerous like mountain bike riding, horse riding, boxing, and contact sports like rugby, soccer or hockey.
Keep it light! Yoga or tai chi is a great way to relax and unwind while giving your body a workout. Walking, cycling, jogging and moderate intensity running are just fine (avoid sprinting, particularly in your second and third trimesters). Swimming is another great option and has the added bonus of helping manage swelling.
No matter how you choose to exercise, remember to do it in moderation, but also to make time for it every other day. 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days a week is what you should be aiming for.
The hospital you have booked in to will have antenatal classes which might include exercise classes.
Stretch and Warm Up
When you fall pregnant, your body releases a hormone called relaxin which causes your joints and ligaments to become loose and relaxed, allowing for pelvic growth. This means that you are more susceptible to injury when you exercise (particularly in your back and pelvis), so make sure you allow plenty of time to warm up, stretch and cool down when you work out.
How Do You Know When You’re Doing Too Much?
While 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week is a good guide, it is important to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond its limits. As your pregnancy progresses, you will find yourself shifting how much you can exercise. Here are some key signs that you are pushing yourself too hard:
• Vaginal bleeding or amniotic fluid leakage
• Shortness of breath or dizziness
• Muscle weakness
• Chest pain
• Less foetal movement
• Extreme fatigue
Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor issues (such as urinary incontinence) are commonly associated with pregnancy, both during and after. Kegel exercises are a great way to keep your pelvic floor strong, and they are great because they can be done anywhere, at any time, with no risk to your baby.
Simply squeeze your pelvic floor (as though you are trying to hold in a pee), hold tight for a few seconds, release for a few seconds, repeat around 10-15 times. Try doing this a couple of times a day.
Eat Well and Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you fall pregnant, it is very important that you eat well to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need to stay strong and healthy. This is doubly important when you take into account what you are burning while you exercise. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, calcium, fibre and protein.
Try To Keep It Regular
Being pregnant can really take it out of you. There are a number of reasons you will feel fatigued throughout your three trimesters, and it’s more than likely it will be hard to keep motivated to exercise every day.
Keep it realistic; if you’re feeling too exhausted to go for a jog, do some yoga. If you’re not feeling much like going for a swim, go for a walk with your partner. What’s important is that you keep it regular. The more you exercise, the more energised you will feel and the better your habits will become. Set yourself realistic but consistent goals!
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Dr Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in Sydney and will be more than happy to give advice and compassionate care in every way possible.