There’s no doubt that you and your bump will benefit from some exercise. What you do will be determined in part by what you did before; as a guide, a pregnancy-friendly work-out level still allows you to hold a conversation.
Now is not the time to become a fitness fanatic, you want to help your pregnant body not punish it with grueling work outs.
Good posture is important throughout your pregnancy, and particularly whilst exercising because your centre of gravity will shift as your pregnancy develops, making you more susceptible to losing your balance.
The hormone relaxin softens your ligaments during pregnancy so steer clear of bouncy, jerky exercises as you are more susceptible to injuring your joints.
Avoid lying on your back during exercise or rest as it can make you feel dizzy and light headed as your baby bump grows; this is because the weight of your uterus presses against the vena cava and reduces the blood flow to the heart.
Walking is great for cardiovascular health and reducing swollen ankles. Flat shoes, friendly terrain and a bottle of water and you are all set!
Swimming will reward you with a feeling of weightlessness and your buoyancy in the water will protect your joints and ligaments. Take care getting in and out of the pool and stay hydrated.
Stretching can help you to relax and enhance your flexibility; find some comfy clothing and some space and you are good to go. Remember to take things easy and go slowly.
Adrenaline junkies may need to slow it down. Avoid contact sports and activities where there is a high risk of falling or the potential for abdominal trauma. Don’t hold your breath during any activity and avoid sit ups and deep squats.
If you experience uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage during or after exercise contact your doctor for a check-up.
Bump and baby weight place extra pressure on your pelvic floor, by strengthening it you reduce the likelihood of urine leak. To identify the muscles you need to work on imagine you want to stop urine mid-flow. Keep clenching and releasing.
Most benefits of exercise during pregnancy are the same as those in non-pregnancy; endorphins boost your energy and mood. The added bump benefit is that an active pregnancy can benefit you and your baby in labour; evidence suggests that women who exercise in pregnancy have shorter labours and fewer complications.