HOW TO EXERCISE SAFELY IN PREGNANCY
Why is it advisable to continue exercising during pregnancy?
As long as you have been given the ok by your doctor to exercise during pregnancy it is definitely worth doing. If undertaking the right forms of exercise then the benefits include:
- Keeping the pelvic floor strength up – helps prevent ‘uncontrolled weeing’ during and after the pregnancy
- Helps prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Maintains tone and fitness during pregnancy
- Makes it so much easier to get back into exercise after birth
- Provides a feeling of being revitalised rather than tired and exhausted
Some Tips on Exercising Safely During Pregnancy
- Keep the weights light – if you are starting to exercise when pregnant keep dumbell weights to between 0.5 to 2kg. If you are used to lifting heavier weights best to seek the supervision of a professional to help you train safely at the highest weights suitable for your fitness
- Avoid lying flat on your back in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters and put pillows behind your back for support or use an incline bench that allows you to sit at a supported angle – lying flat puts the entire weight of the growing uterus and baby on your back, intestines and vena cava the main vein that carries blood back to the heart from your lower body – lying on the back is not forbidden for very short periods but best to only exercise on the back when under the supervision of a womens health trainer
- Use gym balls for support
- Sit on gym balls and get the pelvis moving by rolling the pelvis forwards/back and around in circles
- Hold onto a support when doing exercises like lunges and squats – helps to prevent falling over now the center of gravity has shifted and can improve posture in the later stages
- Exercises lying on your side and in the 4 point kneeling position are safe during any trimester in pregnancy
- Keep hydrated
- Do not allow yourself to overheat
- Walking an amazing safe form of exercise in pregnancy to keep the weight off but without the risks that can come with some other forms of exercise
- Avoid high impact jumping exercises unless under supervision of a trainer in womans health
- Try and contract the pelvic floor while doing exercises – have a session with an experienced physio if not sure you are contracting the pelvic floor correctly
- Ensure rest days
- Pilates and yoga specialised for pregnancy and enjoyable exercise sessions to take part in
- VERY IMPORTANT – avoid ‘CONING’ during any exercise – if you see your tummy dome or form a ridge in any exercise then stop the exercise – it is too difficult for you and will cause more an abdominal separation known as diastasis recti. Read here for more information about this.
Some Flags That You May Be Exercising Too Hard
- You are unable to hold a conversation during exercise – if you are exercising so much that conversation is not possible it means too much – should be aiming at easy to moderate exercising
- If you feel a little muscle soreness after a workout thats ok but any pain that lingers or is pain in the low back, pelvis and other joints is a sign you have done too much
- The idea is to feel better after an exercise session rather than feeling exhausted – reduce the intensity next time if you felt exhausted after the last training session
- If you are getting sick frequently it may be a sign of overtraining and not taking enough rest – exercise during pregnancy is not the time to optimise your fitness and strength but more to keep it up and maintain it.
- Beware of overheating – any of the following symptoms are indications that you internal temperature is too high and the baby may be suffering as a result if the blood is diverting to the skin to try and cool you rather than to the uterus – stop if feel any of the following:
- excessive sweating
- racing heartbeat
Would It Be Worth Seeing A Trainer?
Exercising during pregnancy can be scary with the worry you may risk miscarriage, do harm to the baby or yourself. It is worth seeking the help of a physio trainer with experience in exercising in pregnancy to put your mind at rest and help you continue to exercise knowing that you and your baby will be safe.
Health2mama physio trainers can see you at your home or at our clinic in Telok Ayer Street. There are packages available for exercising during pregnancy or they can see you and then set you programmes to do at home yourself which are safe with our online app which shows videos of the exercises set by the trainer.
Just drop us an email or whatsapp if you would like to have a first exercise session during your pregnancy with Bex, Laura or Katie at Health2mama – all experienced physio trainers in womens health and pregnancy.