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Safe Exercises in Pregnancy

 

What Exercises are Safe in Pregnancy?

Have you ever wondered what exercises are safe pregnancy? Keep reading! Research has shown that women who exercise during pregnancy have a better gestation experience than women who don’t.

Pregnancy workouts are known to improve moods, minimise early morning sickness, reduce nausea, keep you fit and healthy.

We know the benefits of working out in pregnancy so we need to know, how much exercise can we do, what sort of exercises? Well first of all what sort of exercise and how much depends on what you could do and did before getting pregnant. So if you liked a gentle ramble through the countryside before pregnancy, pregnancy is not the time to take up marathon running! It sounds obvious but there can be a desire to live an ultra healthy lifestyle when you know you have a whole wee person growing inside you!

What Exercises Are Safe in Pregnancy

It's important to avoid impact or contact sports, so for me that meant no snowboarding, because I fall far too often!

The next important point is, pregnancy is not the time to start a new high intensity sport or activity. If you are experienced, knowledgable and already train safely to a good level then by all means continue to train, but you will need to reduce your intensity.

That might mean reducing your running speed or distance, it might mean reducing the weight you're lifting, dropping sets or reps. It most likely means no hour long AMRAP classes!

And at all times stay well hydrated. Overheating is not an issue for you, but it can be for your baby.

Some examples of sports you can safely do in pregnancy:

Swimming

Swimming is an excellent exercise at any time, but it’s particularly good during pregnancy, It’s a full body workout, it’s a great cardiovascular workout and it’s low impact. Breast stroke is best avoided during pregnancy as pregnancy hormones have loosened your ligaments and breast stroke can then put stress through your pelvis.

Brisk Walking

Taking a brisk walk is a good way to get the blood flowing. Make sure you swing your arms as you walk to get your upper body moving too.

Abs Exercises

Do you normally rack out a load of sit ups in a workout? Sadly, or perhaps gladly, there comes a point in pregnancy when lying on your back is not recommended due to the weight of your uterus resting on a major vein. Also, pregnancy hormones and the growing bump can cause a diastasis recti and doing sit ups will exacerbate this. A diastasis recti is when your stomach muscles have split down the middle, it’s perfectly normal in pregnancy and it can be repaired post partum, but it’s best not to do exercises that exacerbate it. So no sit ups during pregnancy. Diastasis recti can be fixed post partum. Sometimes your body will heal relatively easily but sometimes it needs a bit more targeted, careful work. We can help, check out our diastasis program for perfect workouts to help you heal.

Pelvic Floor Strengthening

Your pelvic muscles come under intense strain and stress during pregnancy. This is important, it’s throughout pregnancy, not just during childbirth. Also, you need to keep doing pelvic floor exercises, don’t get six months post partum and think all is fine and stop doing them, keep doing them. Your pelvic floor muscles act as a sling of muscles that hold up weight, they support your bowel, bladder and womb and they prevent you from leaking urine when you cough, sneeze etc. Pregnancy stretches and weakens them.

Try these pelvic floor exercises:

While sitting, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the squeeze for a count of 10. Relax, and repeat ten times.

Again while sitting, Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles tightly, and release. Repeat ten times.

It’s important to both long squeezes and short squeezes.

Exercise Bike

Using an exercise bike is a great way to workout without the worry of falling. The concern when riding a non-stationary bike is that any falls could be dangerous, so an exercise bike removes that concern.

Kettlebells

Some kettlebell exercises give a good full body strengthening workout and don’t place undue stress on pregnant bodies. Kettlebell swings or kettlebell cleans are ideal. It’s a good idea to reduce your weight and reps from normal however.

Safety Tips

Check in. Always check with your doctor or midwife before embarking on an exercise routine. Chances are it’ll be fine, but it can be worth checking.

Stay hydrated. It’s always important, but it’s particularly so during pregnancy. Before, during and after your workout, keep hydrated.

Sports to avoid. Gymnastics, skiing, snowboarding, contact sports. Basically anything with a high chance of falling!

Stay cool. Don’t overheat during pregnancy workouts. If your body temperature gets too raised it causes blood to be pulled to your skin to cool down, which means it’s pulled away from your uterus. So no saunas and wear loose, breathable clothing.

Be supportive. Get yourself measured and get a  good sports bra. Your normal size will not fit, and a further tip, it’s unlikely to fit post partum until after you’ve finished breast feeding. So get measured and get one that fits your new size.

Summary

Exercising in pregnancy is a great way to stay healthy, fit and lively. Just follow the safety tips and choose exercises and exercise levels wisely.

 

Click here to contact me for help or advice about exercising during pregnancy.

 

photo credit: howardpa58 It’s All About the Shoes via photopin (license)

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