If you’re currently pregnant, your elders would’ve given you tons of advice not to move a muscle, for fear of hurting the baby and yourself.
While it’s certainly relaxing to kick back and have other people do all the heavy lifting, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work your muscles at all throughout the nine months of your pregnancy. In fact, scientists claim that regular exercise can actually strengthen the blood vessels of your baby and boost their brain activity! And that’s not all.
Why It’s Great to Exercise While You’re Pregnant
- Improves your posture
- Decreases the incidence of back-ache and other discomforts such as aches and pains that occur during pregnancy as it promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Reduces constipation and circulation problems
- Improves overall health and reducing fatigue
- Helps you sleep better
- Increases your energy levels and improve stamina during labour and delivery
What Kinds of Exercises Can I Do?
As long as your doctor says it’s A-OK to exercise, you can go ahead. However, it’s important to pick the right workout to suit your current body conditions.
There are several suitable exercises during pregnancy. Walking is good way to start exercising – brisk walking gives you a total body workout, is free and is suitable for everyone.
You might also want to consider swimming or taking part in aqua classes. Also consider low impact aerobic classes or yoga – antenatal yoga classes are great for reducing your anxiety, building strength, and cultivating breathing techniques that you can put to use during delivery.
Always make sure the trainer is fully qualified to teach pregnant ladies!
General Guidelines for Exercise During Pregnancy
- Listen to your body, don’t over-exert yourself
- Breathe – your baby needs air and he/she gets it through you. Don’t exercise until you get very breathless or exhausted
- It is much easier to exercise before the 24th week of pregnancy. Thereafter, you may need to modify some of the exercises due to your growing belly. Hence, get an exercise trainer who is used to working with the pregnant body
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Drink plenty of fluids before and after exercise
- Avoid exercising in humid hot weather or conditions
- Avoid rocky terrains or unstable ground as these increase your risk of falling
- Avoid lifting weights above your head or using weights that strain your lower back
- Include relaxation and stretching before and after exercises
What Not to Do
Even so, be sensible. Do note there are several types of sports you shouldn’t undertake during a pregnancy for obvious reasons and these include contact sports, scuba diving, skiing, water skiing and horse back riding. Also stay away from sports where you may fall or be hit in the stomach (football, tennis, squash, gymnastics, etc)
If you suffer from any of the following, you should discuss with your doctor before starting on any exercise during pregnancy:
- vaginal bleeding or spotting
- a low-lying placenta
- a weak cervix
- any previous early or premature delivery
- premature pre-term rupture of membranes (pprom)
- threatened or recurrent miscarriages
- any history of underlying severe heart disease
- been confirmed carrying twins or more foetuses
See also: What You Should Eat During Pregnancy for a Healthy Baby
What kind of exercises are you thinking of taking up during your pregnancy? Share your experience with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!