Top tips for exercising while pregnant

Exercising can have serious health benefits for our bodies, and that doesn’t change when we’re pregnant. If you’ve been active before becoming pregnant you’re probably keen to try some new things, or stick to variations on the thing that suits you. Whatever works. If you haven’t been active, don’t worry because you can still take up some gentle forms of activity once pregnant. Activity will keep you fit, healthy and could help with your labour and recovery time too!

What are the benefits?
  • Reduces varicose veins by circulating blood all around the body
  • Overall fitness assists the body with the challenge of labour
  • Quicker recovery time after the baby is born
  • It reduces chances of getting pre-eclampsia, which is a condition linked to high blood pressure with fluid retention
  • Makes you less likely to suffer from backaches, nipple pain, constipation and cramps

To be fair, when I say you can take up exercise while pregnant, I don’t mean that now is the time to learn scuba dive, train for the Ironman or indulge in your fantasy of horseback riding. This is an important time for your body and it’s key to be realistic in what you want to achieve. To keep fit and healthy, there are some forms of exercise that will be great for the pregnant body while others can be too much strain for the body during pregnancy.

What kind of exercise is there for pregnant women?

Pregnancy yoga or pilates
There are numerous classes that cater specifically for pregnant women, but you can always just continue with your original class if you wish. Make sure you mention it to your instructor about your condition and they will show you some different poses and exercises to accommodate your pregnant belly and away you go.

It’s said that if you were a runner before you were pregnant you can continue to run during the first and second trimesters. But that’s not a reason to expect a PB every time you head out. Make sure your body doesn’t overheat and listen to signs that tell you you need to slow down and rest. Doctors advise that pregnant women should be expected to hold a conversation during exercise make sure you don’t get out of breath.

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If you’re already a gym bunny there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to continue heading to the gym while pregnant. Fitness instructors may even have some exercises to help strengthen those pelvic floor muscles (they become necessary sometime towards the end…) and keep your fitness levels on track which can make for an easier labour and a quicker recovery time.

Getting in the water is a wonderful way to keep fit while pregnant. The water makes your body feel buoyant and supports the weight of the baby on your back, while providing gentle resistance to help tone your muscles. Swimming can also help to increase circulation throughout the body reducing the likelihood of varicose veins.

Zumba and other aerobic classes are great for the body while pregnant. Although you must be VERY careful to keep your balance while doing so, avoid any quick turns, or sharp leaps that could put you off your balance. You want to avoid any chances of falling and hurting the baby.

Read more about adapting Zumba classes when pregnant
Anything I should know before I start?
  • Always check with your GP before you take up exercise while pregnant
  • Eat three hours before exercising, then again immediately after to keep your blood sugar levels optimal
  • Warm up before you start and cool down properly once you finish
  • 30 minutes of exercise three days a week is optimal for anybody exercising, including pregnant women
  • Listen to your body and stop exercising immediately if you feel in any way unwell, short of breath, dizzy, experience any pelvic pain or cramping in your abdomen
Still not sure if it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy? Read here to find out more.

Originally posted 2017-02-02 09:17:49.