Being pregnant can make you feel extremely tired, especially in the first trimester. More often than not you will feel more like snuggling up on the sofa than getting out for some exercise. Your blood sugar and your blood pressure are lower than usual, your hormones are all over the place whilst your body is busy creating the environment your baby needs to grow.
Becoming a complete couch potato isn’t a good idea though, while its good to rest, it also good to try and keep up your energy levels.
Exercise during pregnancy is very important, it’s good for baby and it will help to keep you healthy. Studies have shown that women who do some exercise during pregnancy have a lower incidence of having their baby past its due date, which means you’re less likely to have to have an induction. It is also said to increase the size of the placenta, which is providing nourishment to your baby and he or she will cope better in labour, which is all good news.
There are plenty of exercises you can do and few you can’t, for example, contact sports and scuba diving should be avoided.
Strengthening exercises are very good for you, especially those that make your stomach muscles stronger and help your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor will mean you won’t suffer from the escape of urine (stress incontinence) once you’ve had the baby, after you cough or sneeze. Pelvic floor squeezes are easy to do, just pretend that you are stopping yourself from peeing by pulling in your vagina. You do these exercises anywhere you remember to do them, even on the bus! Read our article on the Importance of Pelvic Floor Exercises when Pregnant.
Have a look at this You Tube exercise video which will give you some idea of stomach exercises which are safe to do. As you get bigger you might like to change to an all fours position which will be more comfortable.
Walking is one of the best exercises you can do whilst pregnant. It’s a great way to start to exercise if you’ve never done any before. Plus, it’s free, you can do it anytime and it’s a great excuse to get outdoors for a while.
Beginners can start with 15 minutes a day, 3 or 4 days a week and gradually build up to half an hour for 5 or 6 days a week. If you are already fairly fit, you can start by walking for 20 to 30 minutes for four days a week and build up to 50 minutes or an hour for 6 days.
Walking will tone up your muscles and help you to keep your weight down. It will improve your heart rate and keep you fit, so you should cope better with labour.
Try and put aside some time each day to get moving and you’ll soon feel the benefits. The endorphins produced from exercise will improve your mood and you should feel more relaxed as you get into a routine.
Other good exercises
Swimming will help if you have a backache and/or swollen ankles, it’s great as the water will help support the extra baby weight. It’s perfect for toning up your muscles, as well as helping circulation.
Aerobics is good if you like to exercise as part of a group, have a look for a local aerobics class, especially for pregnant women. Aerobics gives your heart a good workout and improves muscle tone. You can also join a dance group as long you void any twists or jumps.
Yoga is a great exercise when pregnant as it helps to keep muscled toned and strengthens your core and the pelvic region which can shorten labour lengths. It’s worth letting your instructor know if you are. It’s also advised that you should avoid poses where you lay on your back after the first trimester
This article has been written by Samantha Jenkins of Mother and Nature a supplier of Outdoor Maternity Clothing
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