The notion of exercising while pregnant has at times been stained with a bad reputation. It’s one of those controversial topics where everyone, pregnant or not, has an opinion.
Some feel that exercise can put your body under unnecessary stress while carrying a child. Others support the opinion that exercise only further improves the health of an unborn baby.
But what do the professionals say?
If you don’t exercise regularly it’s recommended by the HSE that you don’t begin strenuous activity during your pregnancy. After consulting your doctor, they may suggest you take up gentle activity like short brisk walks or other low-impact exercises including swimming.
If you’ve experienced vaginal bleeding, had a threat of miscarriage or a history of delivering premature babies, it’s recommended that you use extreme caution. Care should also be taken if you are having more than one baby, suffer from heart or lung disease or high blood pressure.
If you lead a healthy and active lifestyle before pregnancy then there’s little reason that you won’t be allowed to continue that pattern, if your pregnancy allows. The HSE recommends exercising during pregnancy because it can help to reduce stress, improve sleep and aids you in adapting to your changing shape and weight. It will also help your body bounce back post pregnancy. It’s advised that you continue with your normal physical routine and gradually slow down the intensity and duration of your workout as your pregnancy progresses.
Common exercises suitable for pregnancy are swimming, stationary cycling, pregnancy yoga and pilates. The HSE advises women to completely avoiding activities where physical harm could come to the unborn child. This includes all contact sports or activities that increase the possibility of a fall or a collision with uncontrolled sporting equipment. Once you reach 16 weeks of pregnancy, skip exercises that involve lying flat on your back, or standing in one place for long periods. Both can reduce blood flow to your baby or cause your bump to lean on blood vessels, leaving you feeling faint.
Exercising while pregnant can be safe and beneficial for both mother and child but remember you should always consult your doctor before you begin.