Is it safe to exercise in pregnancy?
In most cases the answer to this is yes*
If you’re fit and healthy and your pregnancy is going well, then there’s no reason it shouldn’t be safe. In fact, exercise is great for you and the development of your baby, and to ensure a healthy 9 months (and beyond!).
Obviously carrying on with your bootcamp and high intensity classes isn’t advised, but there’s no reason to suddenly stop and sit on the sofa. You can reap so many benefits by staying active, it’s just a case of know what you can and can’t do (which with the overwhelming amount of information available to us, is half the battle!).
So here are some things you need to consider:
If you’re used to doing a certain sport or exercise then in most cases you can carry on doing them as long as they’re comfortable – you may just need to turn down the intensity.
Don’t get too breathless. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold a conversation while exercising. Anything too high intensity as it can put strain on you and your baby’s’ blood flow
Be mindful of your alignment. The hormone relaxin makes your joints (pelvis and knees especially) less stable and certain moves will put extra pressure on these areas, leading to discomfort
Exercises such as gymnastics, horseriding and cycling need to be done with caution, because of the risk of falling. Your balance is affected during pregnancy so even expert sports people can be affected
Contact sports such racket sports and netball should be avoided so as not to be bumped/hit. Quick changes of direction can also cause issues
If you’re doing a class make sure you find one with an instructor that’s qualified to train pregnant ladies to give you the advice and options you need. Be aware that if you attend a class with an un-qualified instructor and something happens to you, the instructor isn’t insured
Strengthening your core and back is essential, but crunches and bicycle legs aren’t the way forward and can lead to future abdominal issues, so speak to your instructor about alternatives.
Keep moving. Don’t hold positions for too long as it can result in an increase in blood pressure
Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back after the first trimester
Keep hydrated and don’t get too hot
If you feel pain, stop!
Your body is going through so many changes and what you can do easily in your first trimester may be next to impossible in your third (and potentially contraindicated), so overall the key is to be mindful of your body and be sure to modify as you go through the trimesters.
Earlier I also mentioned benefits, but what exactly can you expect?
Improved posture and less backache
Faster post-natal recovery
Better sleep patterns
Reduction in pregnancy related ailments (constipation, leg cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome etc)
Decreased stress and anxiety
And, it can influence your ability to cope during labour
Even if you weren’t previously into exercise/sport, do try and keep active where you can – just walking to the train, going out on your lunch break or doing some gentle yoga will help prepare your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of some sort of activity.
If you need any advice, or you’d like to attend my BumpFit pregnancy class or do personal training, please drop me line.
*The caveat: feeling good physically prior to pregnancy is important - if you have any health concerns or pregnancy complications, you should always consult with a doctor before starting any exercise.