There is a misconception that pregnant women cannot exercise. In actual fact, exercise is usually not dangerous for your baby, as long as you don’t exhaust yourself. If you maintain an active lifestyle while pregnant to ensure you are physically fit and healthy, you may find it easier to adapt to your weight gain and changing body shape. It might also help you cope with labour. Speak to your GP for more tailored advice, as they will know more about what’s right for you based on your medical history.
Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women
A short walk of 30-minutes per day is better than nothing, and swimming is great for supporting the extra weight you will be carrying. Low impact aerobics, yoga, and Pilates classes can also be a good idea, but it would be wise to let your teacher know that you are pregnant so that they can modify your workouts accordingly. Be sure to warm up correctly before exercising, and drink plenty of water. If you feel breathless during any exercise, to the point where you can’t talk normally, you might be overdoing it.
You could also try to do some pelvic floor exercise, as these muscles come under great strain during pregnancy and childbirth. A weak pelvic floor might cause you to leak urine if you strain, like when coughing or sneezing. Even if these muscles are not weak, it could be wise to carry out pelvic floor exercise. Again speak to your GP or midwife for some advice on how to do these exercises.
Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant
If you were keen on contact sports before pregnancy, such as martial arts or many team sports, it would be wise to stop these. Generally speaking, you should avoid any sport in which you might get hit. As there is a greater risk of falling in sports like gymnastics, cycling, horse riding or skiing, be sure to take extra caution with these too. It’s also a good idea to avoid exercising at heights over 2,500m above sea level because this can cause altitude sickness.
While pregnant, you should not lie flat on your back for extended periods of time. The weight of your baby bump can press on the main blood vessel, which brings the blood back to your heart. This can lead to fainting.
If you were not particularly active before pregnancy, it wouldn’t be wise to suddenly take up strenuous exercise, especially in hot weather. Exercise doesn’t have to be too demanding to be beneficial.