Our expert says:
Actually, the first trimester is where you probably want to scale it down a bit. The first trimester is the most risky stage, in terms of losing the pregnancy, and so exercise in this phase is certainly most risky. There are a number of reasons for this, but the bottom line is that your exercise intensity must be very carefully controlled and you should rather err on the side of caution and not train hard in this time. Perhaps the interval training can be put on hold for a while - it's not the time to get fitter, just to maintain.
The next hotspot is the third trimester, though here it is a large practical consideration in that your center of weight is different and your joints are susceptible to damage, and it's just plain uncomfortable to do certain exercises.
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.
• 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
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