Although it may seem like it sometimes, pregnancy is not an ailment. Some days your body may ache, your energy disappears and you wonder how you’ll make it through the next months. Believe it or not, exercise may be the answer. Assuming your pregnancy is progressing without any complications, exercise, balanced nutrition and a mind/body connection are the three pillars to wellbeing during pregnancy.
As a Midwife and a fully trained Pilates teacher, I strongly believe in exercise during an uncomplicated pregnancy and have witnessed the benefits first hand. Ideally, exercise is part of your lifestyle before pregnancy, but if it’s not, it’s never too late to start. Whether it’s continuing a modified version of an existing routine, or you’re a first-timer, the earlier you get started the better your body will be prepared for the coming months ahead.
Research and my experience show that exercise during pregnancy can help with the following:
By no means am I recommending starting a hard-core training routine. Pregnancy is not a time to get fitter and buffer, but a time to maintain your fitness level. I recommend my clients strive for around 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week, this could be as simple as fast walking; 30- 60 minutes a few times a week of strengthening exercises to build up what is weak; and daily stretching, within a range that is comfortable for you, to lengthen what is tight. This will help your body cope with the changes that lie ahead.
During the first trimester, your body will go through a lot of changes, both emotional and physical. Whether exercise is part of your lifestyle, or you’re starting a new routine, it may be the last thing you feel like doing. In actual fact, if your pregnancy is complication-free, this is the ideal time to tune in with your body, embrace an exercise routine that suits you and/or modify whenever needed; it will benefit you in the long run and make you feel better almost instantly. After the first trimester, you may notice that your energy levels increase and you are generally feeling better. Although this may be the case, you must be cautious of overdoing it. During this phase the levels of relaxin (a hormone which softens your ligaments in preparation for birth) increase which can result in overstretching or exerting your ligaments and cause injury. Be very careful with single leg weight bearing exercises and be mindful to stretch within a comfortable range. If you are taking a class make sure your instructor knows that you are pregnant. Now is the perfect time to join a prenatal class or work with a personal trainer/teacher who specialises in prenatal exercise. This is especially helpful if you are a newbie.
When it comes to how long into your pregnancy you can continue to exercise, there really is no rule. In theory, you can continue to exercise throughout the third trimester right up to your birth date. As your baby and body grown you may have to switch to gentler exercises such as swimming or water-based exercises, yoga, pilates or walking. It’s important that you tune into your body and find a routine that works for you and makes you feel good.
It’s a lot to take in, but here are a few guidelines to help you safely exercise throughout your pregnancy: (no complications)
Always visit your doctor before embarking on any exercise regime. There are certain conditions in which exercise is ABSOLUTELY not recommended such as the following:
Below are certain conditions that MAY prevent exercise. Again always check with your doctor first and listen to your body.
These conditions DO NOT ALWAYS PREVENT exercise, but will definitely require your doctor’s approval and monitoring.
The key to a successful exercise regime is to find a routine, class or exercise that you love doing and makes you feel good. Whether you’re discovering movement and fitness or continuing an existing routine, the habit of exercise will be one that will pay off long after your baby has arrived and for years to come.
Not sure about which types of exercise would benefit you during your pregnancy? Contact Sofie directly on +852 5970 7890, email [email protected] or click here to book an Urban Hatch Consultation Session.
Sofie has completed the Exercise in Pregnancy, and Optimal Nutrition for Pre and Post Natal Recovery & Healing Courses, created by leading women’s wellness and fitness expert Jenny Burrell, later co-lecturing with Burrell. She is also a qualified Pilates Teacher and a strong believer in the value of exercising during pregnancy.
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