Exercising whilst pregnant is not dangerous to you or your baby. If you are usually fairly active, or already have a certain exercise routine, you should continue as normal, as it is healthy for you and your baby to maintain a good level of fitness throughout your pregnancy.
There is evidence to suggest that a more active lifestyle can help towards coping with pregnancy, as it prepares you well for your labour and birth and will assist you to recover quicker in your postnatal period.
However, it’s important to be aware that certain sports and activities, for example horse riding, cycling or extreme sports, carry an increased risk of injury to yourself and potentially your baby.
Don’t worry if you are not used to exercising, and you want to become more active now that you have found out that you are pregnant. Pick an activity you enjoy, as it is more likely that you will be committed and integrate it into your lifestyle.
It is fine to start exercising gently and to gradually build up the length of time and intensity of your preferred form of exercise, or just gradually increasing your current daily activity is a great way to start. For example, walk for 10 minutes longer every day and increase this by another 10 minutes each week.
Think about making small changes in your daily life or routine:
- Could you park the car further away from work and walk a longer distance?
- What about doing some work in the garden, or helping out in your friend’s and family’s gardens? Weeding and planting can be challenging, but just think about sitting in your lovely and tidy garden with your new baby (weather permitting!).
- Use the stairs instead of the lift. In later pregnancy this can be a helpful way to engage your baby further into your pelvis.
When you are exercising, remember to always have plenty of water to hand. This will help you to avoid becoming dehydrated, especially in hot weather.
Swimming is a popular and enjoyable way to exercise during your pregnancy. It is gentle but uses lots of different muscle groups in your body. It is a low impact exercise and can boost your circulation too. Submerging yourself in water can often relieve minor aches and pains of pregnancy and promote feelings of relaxation.
If you go swimming don’t forget to moisturise well before and after to help to counteract the drying effects of any chlorinated water and/or salt water. Dry and itchy skin can be more common during pregnancy, so ensure you have a protective barrier by using a nourishing serum like Fantastic Skin Elastic.
The benefits of pregnancy exercise:
- Your pregnancy can feel easier if you maintain a good level of fitness throughout.
- Your sleep pattern can often be greatly improved by exercising more often.
- Stress and anxiety is proven to decrease in people who have a more active lifestyle.
- Minor conditions in pregnancy can improve with exercise, such as varicose veins and swollen feet and legs.
- There are specific pregnancy exercise classes and groups where you can meet and socialise with other mums to be, such as aqua aerobics and pregnancy yoga.
- Pregnancy exercises can help you to control how much weight you gain in pregnancy, and help you to lose weight after you have had your baby.