Exercise is an important part of many women’s lives, however when they fall pregnant, women often cease exercising for fear of complications to their pregnancy. It is important to know however that women who stop exercising whilst pregnant are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), maternal obesity, and “gestational diabetes”.
A regular exercise program can help to provide, mental, physical and social benefits at any stage of your life, including during pregnancy, as long as it is done appropriately and under the guidance of an experienced and qualified exercise specialist. At Inspire Fitness, we promote and educate the health benefits of exercise during pregnancy with our clients, especially as exercise plays a vital role in preparing your body for the demands of childbirth, and the physical and emotional rigors of being a mum.
The benefit of exercising throughout pregancy has been well documented in the medical literature. In fact, it is a time in your life where the benefit of staying active and healthy is beneficial for not only yourself; but also for the development of your growing baby. We believe that understanding the benefits of exercise is important for motivation during this exciting time, as well as having a good knowledge of the precautions you will need to take to ensure you get the most out of your exercise during pregnancy.
Exercise during pregnancy can benefit you by reducing:
- Musculoskeletal tension,
- Muscle cramps,
- Fluid retention,
- Risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, and
- Risk of gestational obesity and excessive weight gain.
A tailored and guided exercise program undertaken during pregnancy also benefits you by improving your:
- Back strength to help support your growing belly, Self- esteem, Body image, Posture, Sleep Patterns, Moods and your tolerance to Stress
Appropriate exercise during pregnancy also allows you to maintain your current fitness level, and following childbirth, can help you to return more quickly to your pre-pregnancy fitness levels and weight.
We recommend for pregnant women to complete 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. The activities we suggest include walking, swimming, cycling, water aerobics, yoga, and pilates. For women who were exercising prior to becoming pregnant, it is safe to continue with strength training at a low to moderate intensity, with at least one day’s rest between sessions.
Although it is safe and advantageous to exercise during your pregnancy, the following precautions should be taken into consideration:
- Adequate hydration before during and after exercise
- Avoid exercising in high temperatures
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Avoid lying on your back after the 4th month, encourage side lying
- Avoid excessive sweating
It is also essential for women who are pregnant to be aware on the following symptoms that indicate exercise should be terminated. Consult your General Practitioner (GP) if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath prior to exertion
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Decreased fetal movement
- Exercise is important at any stage throughout the lifespan, providing mental, social and physical benefit for all that is involved.
- Consult your GP and exercise specialist prior to commencing an exercise program
- Learn to self monitor for signs of trouble
- Keep exercising!