Our expert says:
I think it is important to find out exactly how long you have been pregnant for. It is important to know this because it often has implications for what exercise you can do. It's also important to get approval or clearance from a doctor regardless of how long you've been pregnant for, and so it's vital that you see a doctor for a full checkup. This is particularly important since you are experiencing abdominal pains - it may be a minor unimportant thing, but it is very important to eliminate any possibility that you are doing damage.
Therefore, it is my advice that you very seriously make an appointment and have this checked out. If it turns out to be nothing important, then you can begin to train. The key to exercise while pregnant is that you must train at a lower intensity than you might normally do. This is relative for everyone of course, because you find some people who can handle a lot more training than others. I think that the key is that you must not try to gain fitness or perform while pregnant - it's all about maintenance and just keeping active.
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
• 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.
Of course, though, all this depends on medical clearance.
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
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