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Pregnancy and Exercise

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So prescribing medicines in pregnancy  can be tricky, there as so many things to factor in. When it comes to pregnancy and exercise, the same thing is very true. There is never a one size fits all ideal. This is because we are all different with varying lifestyles, work, family dynamics, pre-existing conditions, age and stage of pregnancy.

General Advice from the NHS

  • Do not exhaust yourself. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your maternity team advises you to. If in doubt, consult your maternity team.
  • As a general rule, you should be able 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 were not active before you got pregnant, do not suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you start an aerobic exercise programme (such as running, swimming, cycling or aerobics classes), tell the instructor that you’re pregnant and begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, 3 times a week. Increase this gradually to daily 30-minute sessions.

Then there’s Pregnancy and Exercise 

Prescribing exercise for pregnant women has got to take in many differing factors The type, intensity, frequency, and duration of a “dose” of exercise are all critical. One person’s healthy, vigorous workout could be hazardous to another. These dangers could also be greater in pregnant women because they’re more likely to possess strains and other serious side effects for the would-be mother.
If you have heart disease, lung disease, a short cervix, preterm, labor, multiple pregnancy, that’s being pregnant with twins, triplets or more frequent, vaginal bleeding during months four, through nine percent of previa or high blood pressure get medical advice first.

PregnancyPregnancy awaiting the special event

During pregnancy the new mother needs to have proper care and regular doctor and midwife visits, to ensure that the mother to be remains as healthy as possible, The aim is staying healthy and delivering the baby without complications.
A big part of that is eating healthily and remaining reasonably fit.

No one expects an expectant mother to suddenly go to the gym or start a vigorous exercise regime if it’s not a normal part of her life. You will get more tired at some stages more than others. It is important to rest at such times if it is possible but equally important not to do nothing at all.

Unless told otherwise by a doctor you should remain as active as possible.

Type of exercise

When it comes to exercise while pregnant it is important to use your common sense. Don’t suddenly start doing types of exercise you have never done before. Check with your doctor and take her/his advice. Generally if you have always done exercise, unless there are complications you can continue but erring on the side of caution.

In the first 3 months be sure to take extra care. Your body is growing a new human being and it has to adjust to it being there as well as continuing to grow your little miracle. You will feel tired, you may well feel nauseous. That is all quite normal. It’s an exciting, scary and exhausting time.

NHS on Exercise to Avoid

  • do not lie flat on your back for long periods, particularly after 16 weeks, because the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint
  • do not take part in contact sports where there’s a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, judo or squash
  • do not go scuba diving, because the baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism (gas bubbles in the bloodstream)
  • do not exercise at heights over 2,500m above sea level – this is because you and your baby are at risk of altitude sickness

How will it Help?Stay Fit and Healthy

If you exercise it’ll definitely help you build stronger bones, muscles and joints. It can also help you develop your stamina, which may be helpful in labor and delivery. We know that exercise helps people with preventing heart disease, diabetes, gestational, diabetes and long term health too.

For most, it will make for an easier labor if you have exercised. Even walking can make a difference to your fitness levels.

Now, if you’ve already been exercising, there are some changes you might need to make due to your pregnancy. If you haven’t been exercising and you plan to start exercising now that you’re pregnant then you need to take medical advice because you don’t want to put the baby at risk.

Exercise space

What you want to have is a safe space.

With a hard surface floor, you can then use either some carpeting or a yoga mat as a way to soften the floor. You want an area where you’re stable and you can keep your balance. Most pregnant women want to be comfortable.

What you need is some loose-fitting, exercise clothing and a supportive sports bra. You also want to wear appropriate Footwear,  usually trainers which are comfortable and protect your feet.

Stop exercisingStop exercising when unwell

If you have any of these warning signs: trouble breathing, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headache, chest pains, weak muscles, calf pain or swelling preterm. You and the baby are the most important concerns during pregnancy, so exercise for keeping both you and your baby healthy.

Exercise is healthy and safe for most pregnant women. But you should stop exercising immediately if you feel unwell at any point. Always check with you health professionals from the start. Here in the UK, that will be your doctor and midwife. You will also have hospital visits if you have any other concerns.

Most of all!

Enjoy this special time and remember to rest too. Doing things that you enjoy is important for your general wellbeing. Be sure to include your partner in the highs as well as any lows at this time.

Planning, reading and talking with your partner, if you have one with you, is important so they feel included. This is a big life change for you both.


Helpful Posts to consider: Keep Baby Safe, Say No to Toxins

Breastfeeding vs Bottle Feeding

6 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Exercise”

  1. Pregnancy is really a difficult period for any woman but this doesn’t mean that staying in bed all the time is good or healthy. In my opinion anyone that want to take up some exercise needs to consult a doctor that know the condition of the pregnancy and can give advice on the much required limits. This way both the mother and child will be healthy and not risk any danger.

    Reply
    • I agree, it can be a difficult time but staying fit and healthy makes the labour much easier which is better for the baby too. Any pregnant woman should always consult their doctor or midwife before deciding on any exercise, I completely agree. 

      Thank you for your comments.

      Reply
  2. Very informative post, well done. Exercise is vital in all stages of life, not just pregnancy. You have raised some excellent points for pregnant women when exercising. Rest is a vital part of a regular exercise routine and more so for pregnant women. It should feel good, and you should also enjoy it.

    Reply
    • I agree with your comments Dave. It is important to stay fit and healthy also to consult a doctor or midwife before changing a routine or doing a different type of exercise.  Enjoyment is very important too.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for this beautiful article on exercising while pregnant.  There is a lot of helpful advice on here.  My significant other likes to exercise everyday, and her and me want a baby together soon.  I would have to let her see this article, so that when she does get pregnant she will have this as future reference.

    Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it Jessie. If your other half likes to exercise regularly and its not too strenuous she can continue to do the same during the pregnancy. Always best to check with your medical advisors first though. Staying fit and healthy helps to make the labour easier and recovery faster in most cases.

      Good luck when you start your family, it’s a wonderful time.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Reply

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