Exercise In Pregnancy

Exercise In Pregnancy

A light to moderate exercise program should be the aim. Many patients utilize walking, water aerobics, and yoga. As a general rule, a light to moderate level should allow you to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless as you talk, then you’re probably exercising too strenuously. If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Exercise tips when you’re pregnant:

  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
  • Try to keep active on a daily basis; 30 minutes of walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing.
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot or humid weather.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • If you go to exercise classes, make sure your instructor is properly qualified, knows you’re pregnant, and how many weeks pregnant you are.
  • Water will support your increased weight – try swimming

We strongly recommend exercise during your pregnancy. Not only does it help control your weight gain, it helps
reduce the aches and pains of pregnancy, and also makes your delivery easier. Women who exercise have a shorter pushing stage of labor, and also require less pain medication.

Any form of exercise is acceptable, EXCEPT- abdominal wall exercises like sit ups or leg lifts (unless you have a trainer who can show you how to protect your tummy muscles). During exercise, you should maintain a heart rate under 140 beats per minute and avoid overheating. It is very important to drink lots of water. Most of our patients utilize walking, water aerobics and yoga as their main forms of exercise. We can give you information about Prenatal Exercise Programs in the area.

You may notice that you have some cramping during walking or immediately afterwards. This is usually normal, but please check with your doctor at your next visit. DON'T FORGET THE WATER!

Precautions:

  • WOMEN WHO SHOULDN'T EXERCISE (check with your doctor first): Preterm labor, placenta previa, undiagnosed bleeding, cardiac problems.
  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
  • Keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute.
  • Don't get overheated.
  • Don’t exhaust yourself
  • Don’t take part in activities with a risk of falling.
  • Don’t take part in contact sports where there’s a risk of being hit
  • Don’t lie flat on your back, particularly after 16 weeks. The weight of your bump presses on the big blood vessels and can make you feel faint and reduce blood flow to your baby.
  • No scuba diving or exercising in altitudes above 2,500m
  • As your pregnancy progress, you should slow down.

Exercises for a more fit pregnancy

If you are pregnant, try to fit the exercises listed below into your daily routine. They will strengthen your muscles so that you can carry the extra weight of pregnancy. They’ll also make joints stronger, improve circulation, ease backache and generally help you feel well.

Stomach-strengthening exercises

As your baby gets bigger, you may find that the hollow in your lower back increases and this can give you backache. These exercises strengthen stomach (abdominal) muscles and ease backache, which can be a problem in pregnancy:

  • Start in a box position (on all fours) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, with fingers facing forward and abdominals lifted to keep your back straight.
  • Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, curling the trunk and allowing your head to relax gently forward. Don’t let your elbows lock.
  • Hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position.
  • Take care not to hollow your back; it should always return to a straight/neutral position. Do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully.
  • Only move your back as far as you can comfortably.

Pelvic tilt exercises

  • Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall.
  • Keep your knees soft.
  • Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall; hold for four seconds and release.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone.

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