One of a mother’s biggest concerns when she falls pregnant is her body and it’s changing shape. Hand-in-hand with this is, of course, her fitness in pregnancy! Will her body ever return to the same shape? How can she stay fit? Can she exercise while she’s pregnant? Is it important to stay in shape? The good news is that staying fit when you’re expecting is possible – and that’s why I’m here!
Here is a list of ten important tips to bear in mind if you plan on staying fit when you’re expecting:
1. Exercising during pregnancy provides a number of benefits. It can help relieve discomforts such as backache, it helps improve your mood, and can even help you sleep better.
2. Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise, four or five days per week.
3. If you’re a beginner, walking is a great option as there is minimal stress on your joints, and at the same time, you are provided with moderate aerobic conditioning. Other choices are swimming, cycling, low-impact aerobics and strength training (as long as your weights are not too heavy).
4. Always warm-up and cool-down prior to exercise, and be sure to drink plenty water before, during and after your workout to avoid dehydration.
5. If you are out of breath and can’t hold a conversation, then you are pushing too hard – take it down a notch. Listen to your body.
6. Core stability exercises, such as using an exercise ball, are important in pregnancy to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
7. If you exercise during pregnancy, you need to be sure to take in enough calories and eat a nutritionally-sound diet. When you are pregnant, you need approximately 300 extra calories per day, and a little bit more than that if you’re exercising.
8. Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing while exercising, and dress in layers so you can remove layers to prevent yourself from overheating. Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-fitted sports bra.
9. Don’t lie flat on your back – your baby can put pressure on a major blood vessel that carries blood to your heart, and this could make you feel dizzy or faint.
10. Always speak to your Obstetrician/Gynaecologist or Midwife prior to starting an exercise plan and get the go-ahead from them. There are certain conditions in pregnancy that may prohibit you from exercising, such as high blood pressure, early labour, or problems with the cervix.
Fitness in pregnancy is always a good idea, as it not only has benefits for you – but for your baby as well. Often moms feel that the idea is daunting and exhausting, but it will give you more energy and help you sleep better at night – what more reason could you need?!