Mummy says…Pregnancy is about balancing staying active with plenty of rest. But what
exercises are safe in pregnancy? HARTMANN Direct take a look at Exercises for a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy…
Staying active is an excellent way to enjoy a fit and healthy pregnancy but it is always a question of balance. You should rest as much as you exercise and as your bump grows, you may find you need to adapt your exercise routine.
Here are four exercises that many pregnant mums say helped them whilst pregnant and got them in good shape to handle labour and birth.
The important thing to remember when exercising during pregnancy is what your level of fitness was before you got pregnant. Clearly, starting a vigorous exercise regime in the first trimester is probably not the best move which is why walking makes a great starting point for most mums.
Walking is great during pregnancy and after birth too. You take it at your own pace and it has the added advantage of being out in the fresh air too.
You’ll get the cardiovascular work out we all need to stay in tip-top condition and you can do this from day one of your pregnancy right up to labour. Some women in labour find that walking is one way of managing the pain too.
Don’t forget, as your bump grows your balance is affected so you may find that in late pregnancy, walking on uneven ground becomes even harder.
Small changes can have a big effect so why not get off your bus a stop earlier than you normally would or enjoy a walk home from work when the weather is good.
Make sure you wear good shoes – trainers are a good idea – and vary your walking pace from a leisurely stroll to a fast pace. But if you feel uncomfortable, slow down or stop to take a breather.
Swimming is a great exercise at any time of life but during pregnancy it is just perfect!
The denseness of the water supports your weight, meaning that the weight of your growing baby is alleviated from your skeleton, helping you to relax and enjoy the exercise without worrying about hurting you or your baby.
It is tough to hurt yourself swimming but if you insist on powering up and down the
pool, you may find you are exhausted by the end of it.
Again, as your bump grows, your balance in the water (and getting in the pool!) can begin to feel quite different. Take your time getting in and out of the pool.
Choose a stroke that you find comfortable. You may find freestyle suits you and breaststroke is great too. But try to vary your stroke as remaining in the same position can put pressure on your neck, shoulders and arms, leaving you feeling sore.
And don’t overheat either. Stay away from the hot tub, the sauna and steam room until after pregnancy.
The benefits of stretching and remaining supple with yoga have long been known and there is no reason why you can’t continue with yoga during pregnancy either.
Strengthening your muscle system, it also stimulates your circulation and can be great for helping you relax too. Many women find that the breathing and control techniques they learn with yoga help them to stay in control during labour too.
As your pregnancy progresses, you may find that some positions become uncomfortable. Your yoga instructor will be able to guide you but from your second trimester onwards, avoid lying on your back.
Likewise, be aware of your balance changing so take care when you need to hold a pose for more than a few seconds. Be careful not to overstretch too.
Weight training is great for toning muscles and also helps to strengthen your muscles and bones for after when you have a lot of heavy lifting after pregnancy.
Safe weight lifting!
This isn’t about lifting huge dumbbells above your head or lifting the heaviest weight you can! Using smaller weights with several repetitions helps to tone muscles but like all exercise, there are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to lifting weights in pregnancy.
Don’t lie on your back and don’t lift a heavyweight that places stress on your abdominal muscles. Start lifting half the weight you normally would but increase the repetitions. Make sure your back is supported and you are breathing correctly too.
Holding your breath can increase your blood pressure and decrease the flow of blood to your baby.
Make sure you consult your GP prior to any new exercise during pregnancy.
HARTMANN Direct is an online retailer with many years’ experience in making sure pregnant women and new mums have the best quality incontinence products available.