Our expert says:
Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits to both the baby and the mother. The mother can expect to gain less weight during her pregnancy, have greater energy reserves, a shorter active phase of labour, less prone to gestational diabetes and it will help her recovery from labour quicker. Current research shows that the baby’s born to an active mother have higher AGPAR scores and have healthier birth weights.
Before commencing exercise it is important that you get permission from your gynaecologist. There are certain conditions that can prevent some mothers from exercising and it is important that you get a full medical clearance.
Because you are active before your pregnancy there is no reason why you cannot continue with your current routine - you may just need to reduce the intensity. Pregnancy is not the time to get fit but rather just to keep active and maintain the fitness you currently have.
Try to keep your intensity moderate - don't overexert yourself. What you need to remember is that the baby has a core temperature 1 degree higher than you do, so when you start to push up the intensity too much your core temperature goes up and consequently so does the baby’s. It is therefore also important that you keep cool during exercise wearing loose clothing and drinking lots of water. Also try to exercise in early morning or the evening when it is cooler.
You can do most activities in the gym such as cycling, treadmill, stepper and weight training. You will need to however avoid exercises on your back for extended periods or on your stomach. During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin, which makes your ligaments lax in preparation for the birth. Therefore it is not advised that you do any jumping or jarring activities, as this will put you at greater risk to injury.
Here are some general guidelines for exercise:
· Avoid exercises that involve the VALSALVA manoeuvre or holding your breath. This means no lifting of heavy weights which force you to strain or hold your breath. This may mean that you have to reduce the weight you are currently using or do fewer reps with that weight.
· Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back after the 4th month (after the first trimester) as the pregnant uterus may compress the aorta and cause a decrease of blood flow to the fetus.
· Avoid exercise in which there is danger of loss of balance.
· Avoid long periods of motionless standing
· It is NOT recommended that you start an exercise programme in the first trimester if you have been previously inactive.
You will also find that as your stomach gets bigger and your center of gravity changes it will be harder for you to keep your balance in activities that require quick changes of direction such as aerobics.
As your pregnancy progresses and you start to feel more tired you can move your training into the pool and take up swimming or aqua aerobics, which you will find very soothing during the final months of your pregnancy.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.