When it comes to exercise in pregnancy there is much debate and conflicting information of what can be done. One of the most frustrating things I found in pregnancy is that everyone tells you what not to do. Health professionals forget to tell you what you CAN do in pregnancy.
Exercise is really just a form of movement. It can be as simple as walking through to running. It may be bodyweight or light weight strength training through to heavy weightlifting. Yoga, mediation or Pilates may be another option. So when it comes to exercise in pregnancy there is no one answer. Consideration needs to be given to the changes that your body is going through but this can also open up many options available to you. Every body is different and every pregnancy will be experienced differently so you can decide what will suit you best based on your experience.
There are many factors that determine what type of exercise you can do during pregnancy. The best place to start is your goal.
What would you like to achieve from pregnancy exercise?
- Feeling strong and full of energy
- Preventing back or hip pain, headaches or neck and shoulder pain.
- Improved posture and ability to cope with the changing load
- To aim for a drug free labour and natural childbirth
- To relax and stop complaining about how sick you feel (that’s was one of my main goals)
- To prove you are a superwoman and to complete a marathon while 36 weeks pregnant
The last one was thrown in to be funny as we often have unrealistic expectations about what we feel we should be doing during pregnancy. You are a superwoman regardless of how far you run, you are growing a human and that’s pretty awesome!
What type of exercise also depends on your activity prior to pregnancy. If you were an athlete or participated in regular intense exercise prior to pregnancy, you may be able to maintain a higher level of activity to someone who didn’t exercise at all. If you want to start a new workout program, it needs to be appropriate for your body. In the past, the advice was that you can continue to do whatever you did before pregnancy, just avoid starting something brand new. While some of this is true, there are activities that you can commence in pregnancy.
Evolution Health Services Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines:
- Aim to complete moderate intensity exercise – think a brisk walk, body weight exercises or appropriate weight lifting programs for your current fitness.
- Ensure that the exercises are appropriate for your stage of pregnancy, including positioning.
- Focus on building strength through your whole body, improving posture and pelvic floor function.
- Aim for low impact exercises to prevent pressure on your pelvic floor and loosening joints.
- Consider adding Pre-natal Yoga, Meditation or Pilates as part of your training to improve strength, relaxation and breathing in labour.
- Find activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Avoid activities that make you feel exhausted.
- Avoid exercise in a heated environment and wearing clothing to prevent overheating.
If you are unsure where to start, speak with your GP, Midwife or Obstetrician to let you know of any risk factors that may prevent you from participating in exercise. There are some instances where exercise may not be suitable. If you are ready to get moving in pregnancy and to experience the benefits that pregnancy exercise has to offer, join our Pregnancy Exercise Classes at our Campbelltown Clinic. With our dedicated exercise space, we can provide a safe, effective workout for beginners and those wanting to keep moving in pregnancy. Head to our Pre + Post Natal Exercise page to find out the details of current classes.