6 reasons why you shouldn't be scared to exercise in pregnancy
Yes, there’s a chance you’ll suffer from various aches and pains, feel sick or feel tired, but being pregnant is not an illness. There is therefore no reason to stop being active. You don’t need to stop doing exercise and you don’t need to wrap yourself in cotton wool. Yes, there are some women who have complications meaning this course of action might be recommended, but in the most part you don’t need to do this*. Gentle exercise never hurt anyone and won’t harm your baby, so don’t be scared. I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t be:
It helps with your mood, improving your mental as well as physical wellbeing. The things that pregnancy throws at us, means we’re continually challenged, so anything that keeps us bright and breezy is good right?
Staying active can ward off or manage various aches and pains associated with pregnancy, such as back aches, leg cramps, varicose veins, constipation etc. Who doesn’t want less of them?
It’ll help improve your posture, that will have shifted due to the frontal imbalances. Don’t let the bump and boobs topple you over!
It will increase your body awareness, self-image and confidence and at the same time help you control excess weight gain. It’s not a time to diet or set weight loss goals, but too much weight gain is going to make things hard for you post-birth and won’t be good for baby.
Improves you sleep patterns. I’m not saying you’ll suddenly get 8hrs uninterrupted but it will improve the quality of sleep you get
You’ll have a faster post-natal recovery. Work those muscles now and they’ll help you when you’ve had baby.
If you do decide to do some exercise you will of course notice:
That you’ll tire more quickly than you did before being pregnant. Your blood volume increases by 30% so your heart has to work harder than it did before to circulate the blood.
You may get more breathless, as your oxygen uptake increases by 20%
Your balance and coordination may be a little off, due to the change in your alignment
You feel sweatier/hotter than normal, as your body temperature is slightly higher
These are all normal but please be aware that you do of course need to tone things down and there are certain things you shouldn’t be doing (see my other blog), so make sure if you’re going to classes that you choose one with a qualified pre-natal instructor. That way they can monitor this and ensure you’re not doing too much.
I run a BumpFit pregnancy class which offers a mix of low impact cardio exercise with strength building moves and effective stretching and flexibility work, all tailored to the pregnant body. So if you’re local to me, don’t be scared – come and join me! Next course dates can be found on my website.
Otherwise, read my other blog on what you can and can’t do and plan some activity into your week. An exercise class may not be your thing, but there are plenty of other ways to stay active!
*Please check with your doctor/midwife before taking on activity, particularly if you weren’t very active pre-pregnancy. Walking may be your best option here.
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