Top Tips for Exercising When Pregnant
Pregnancy brings so many changes that, when you’ve all sorts of important things to think about, maintaining your regular fitness regime is probably one of the last things on your mind.
If, like most of us, you find getting enough exercise a case of mind over matter, the idea of keeping it up at a time when your body may feel strange and unfamiliar is probably not all that appealing. On top of this, even women who are all too keen to keep active can feel nervous about doing so, unsure as to whether it could have any adverse affect on their baby.
Whilst it’s certainly true that pregnancy will lead to you taking things a bit easier, especially if you are a fitness enthusiast, it doesn’t mean you have to stop all together. However, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid;
Doing any form of work out that requires you to lie on your back is a bad idea, especially after 16 weeks. This is because the downward pressure from your bump against your blood vessels can make you feel faint. Likewise, sports where there is a risk of taking a big hit, or a fall should be taken off the agenda.
The adventurous amongst you should also be aware that both great depths and great heights can be harmful to your baby. Don’t go diving, as your baby has no protection form conditions caused by decompression and, unless you’re already acclimatised, avoiding doing exercise anywhere 2,500m higher than sea level.
When it comes to less exotic activities a good general rule to follow is not to do anything so strenuous that you can’t keep up a conversation at the same time. Be wary of becoming breathless and, to avoid dehydration, take it easy when the weather is warmer, taking on plenty of fluids.
Try and keep active everyday if you can, even if it’s only a half hour walk. One great activity to take up whilst pregnant is swimming. This is because your bump will be supported by the water, indeed many pools may have special aquanatal exercise classes that you can attend.
As well as regular exercise, there are specialist exercises you should try and work into your routine which are specifically designed to make pregnancy easier. Certain activates that can strengthen your stomach muscles and pelvic floor can end up making the process of giving birth much easier and also ease the back pain of most pregnant women experience.
One great exercise for your stomach muscles can be performed by kneeling down on all fours, with your knees beneath your hips and your arms very slightly bent (the point being not to lock your elbows.) Next, raise your stomach up towards the ceiling, allowing your trunk to curl, whilst your head hangs forward, relaxed.
Once in this position try and hold it for three seconds or so, before slowly using your muscles to lower your stomach back into the starting position. It’s important not to simply release and flop back down. Nor should you hollow your back. Try and repeat 10 the movement times, going as far with each rep as you think you can manage.
Another equally simple, but very effective exercise you can make part of your daily life is this pelvic routine; Stand with your shoulders and buttocks against the wall, keeping your knees relaxed (i.e. not locked up.) Next, pull your stomach in towards your spine, causing your back to flatten against the wall. This time, try to hold the position for at least four seconds before releasing. Repeat this process, if possible, ten times.
Finally, it is important to remember that considering everything that comes with pregnancy, you won’t always be able to get these exercises done, for one reason or another. The thing to remember is that, even if you don’t quite have time for the suggested number of reps for some reason, doing something is always better than doing nothing. If you don’t get a chance in the day, just do a couple of reps of one of the routines described before going to bed.
Keeping up the habit of being active will really help you get back into the swing of things once your baby is born!