Exercise during pregnancy: Get Moving

Should you exercise during pregnancy?

If you already follow an exercise routine then, providing your GP agrees, there is no reason why you shouldn’t’ continue. Exercise strengthens and tones muscles, some of which you'll be using during your labour and birth. It also increases the circulation of blood between you and your baby. Pregnancy Exercises decrease many of the discomforts you may experience during pregnancy (such as backache), improves your energy levels and helps you to feel good emotionally. For the first few weeks of a new programme you should exercise in short sessions, up to 3 times a week. Start with a warm-up, followed by 15 minutes of aerobic activity and finish with some simple stretches and breathing exercises. 

Safety First

While exercise is great for you and your baby, there are a few precautions that you should take.

Here are some tips:

  • Always check with your doctor before starting any new form of exercise.

  • Stop straight away if you feel faint, light headed or breathless during exercise.

  • Try to keep your exercise regime at about 30 minutes.

  • Always include a warm-up and a cool-down period (in addition to the 30 minutes of exercise).

  • Listen to your body and don't push it

  • Avoid sudden jerking or bouncing movements or quick changes in position.

  • Limit aerobic activity to the low-impact variety, especially if you weren't exercising regularly before getting pregnant. Brisk walking, swimming and riding a stationary bicycle can be good options.

  • If you take an aerobics class, make sure that the instructor knows you're pregnant.

  • Protect your abdominal and lower-back muscles by using good posture and by avoiding exercises that will strain them, like full sit-ups or raising both legs off the floor at the same time. Instead, do 'mini' sit-ups (see below), and when doing leg lifts, raise one leg off the floor at a time, keeping the other leg bent with your foot on the floor.

  • It is important not to exercise on your back once you start to get big, so from the fourth month onwards adapt any exercise that you would normally do lying flat so that you are sitting, standing or lying on your side

  • Avoid over-heating: Drink plenty of water, and don't exercise in hot, humid conditions.

And remember, always check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine during pregnancy.

Birthing Exercises

You can perform these two easy exercises each day to prepare your muscles for the big job of giving birth.Pelvic floor exercises These can strengthen the muiscles that support the womb, bladder and bowel, which can get stretched during pregnancy and could led to incontinence. Exercise these frequency by drawing in the back passage as if to avoid passing wind and hold for a count of 10. It can be good to do up to three sets of eight ten each day. While you are exercising make sure to listen to what your body tells you. Pain is usually a signal that something is not right. Let your doctor know if you experience any discomforts.

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