Exercising During Pregnancy

exercising during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very exciting time but it can also be a very frustrating time as you are subjected to a large amount of well meaning advice from just about everyone.

The problem is, just having had a child seems to make every mother an expert, which means you’re going to meet a lot of experts during the nine months.

Exercising during pregnancy is one that will divide the generations. Your friends may be encouraging you to stay active during your pregnancy but your Nan and more ‘experienced’ sources may not be so keen. 

So who do you listen to and what is safe when it comes to exercising during pregnancy? Here are our top tips to a safe, active and healthy nine months.

Listen to the experts

Discuss your plans to exercise with your GP, midwife or obstetrician and listen to their advice.

There are some pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia, and incompetent cervix, which make it not safe to exercise. If you have been advised to rest by a medical professional you must take that advice.

The good stuff

Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to help maintain your fitness and muscle tone, maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, aid relaxation and sleep, minimise aches and pains and prepare your body for labour.

It has been suggested that the right kind of exercise during pregnancy can deliver better birth outcomes and allow a quicker post natal recovery.

Lower the intensity

When we talk about exercising during pregnancy we aren’t talking about strenuous cardio activity that will raise the body temperature, dramatically elevate the heart rate or stress the pelvic floor.

If you are used to an intensive workout, now is the time to start dropping things back a little. If you are struggling with this, hire a trainer that specializes in pregnancy training so they can design something that will challenge you in a safe and controlled way.

Enjoy the right kind of exercise

The right kind of exercise is the one that is safe for both mother and baby. Walking is a great pregnancy exercise, as are classes that are specifically designed for you. Pregnancy yoga and pregnancy Pilates are beneficial and anything in water is particularly blissful in the 3rd

All Yoga is not created equal

Just because yoga is a ‘gentle exercise’ doesn’t mean all yoga is suitable for pregnant women. There are many different types and some are very challenging.

Don’t waste your time trying to modify your old exercise class, whatever it may be, you won’t get the most out of it and you risk injury. It’s not a case of you not being able to keep up, it’s about focusing on your changing body and doing what is best for you and your baby.

Listen to your body

What may be suitable in your first trimester may not be suitable in your third trimester. Every pregnancy is different, you may be dehydrated from morning sickness or be experiencing pelvic joint pain. These are all signs to check in with your body and do what is best for you at that stage of your pregnancy.

Discuss any changes with the exercise instructor and if necessary your health professional.

Ditch the crunches

Many women continue doing abdominal crunches far into their pregnancy in the belief this will make their stomach spring back after the birth of their baby.

Unfortunately this isn’t the case and they risk developing abdominal separation or diastasis recti, which will delay abdominal recovery. The abdominal muscles have to lengthen to stretch over the growing baby and if you keep shortening them by doing crunches they will eventually separate because they have no where to go, further weakening the core post birth.

Pelvic Floor, pelvic floor, pelvic floor

You get the idea. It’s very important that you do pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy because it’s an area that is under stress. The pelvic floor muscles help us keep control of our bladder and bowels. They also stop our internal organs from dropping down – yep, thought that might get your attention. Talk to your health professional about correct technique, it’s a case of quality over quantity.

And relax

Making time for pregnancy exercise will give you the space to focus on you and your baby and get your mind and body ready for one of the most amazing experiences possible. Enjoy x


Article written by Jess Schmidt
Jess is a Hobart based personal trainer and owner of mamafirst fitness. www.mamafirstfitness.com  You can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mamafirstfitness


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