Keeping active whilst pregnant

Many women assume that since they are pregnant, they shouldn’t exercise. But in reality, the opposite is true! Exercising during pregnancy can help you prepare for labour, keep your spirits up, and will even help you get back to your pre-pregnancy body after your baby is here!

If you were active before you became pregnant, try to keep up your regular activity for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. If you usually play sports, do yoga, or just walk to the shops and back, keep doing it! The back-ache, constipation and fatigue which are so often experienced during pregnancy will be far easier to manage, and sleep will come more easily when you get into bed at night.

Recommended forms of exercise

Keep active whilst pregnant

Keep active whilst pregnant

The best types of exercise for pregnant women are those which get your heart pumping and keep you supple, but which don’t cause stress for you or your baby.

Walking, jogging, swimming and aquanatal classes are all great when done in moderation.  Yoga and Pilates are fantastic for strengthening the muscles you’ll need during labour, but make sure you find a trained instructor who has experience in teaching pregnant women.

Swimming is our top choice for a pregnancy exercise. You can take things as gently as you like, and you’ll feel light as a feather in the water. This is great for later in your pregnancy, when the rest of the time you might be feeling – to put things delicately – like a beached whale. Why not treat yourself to a something gorgeous from this range of maternity swimwear (by the NCT Shop), to really boost the feel-good factor?

Swimming is a low-impact activity; the water supports your joints and ligaments as you exercise, protecting you against overdoing it. Breast stroke is a great idea, since it promotes good posture and the strengthening of the back and chest muscles. Backstroke on the other hand is best avoided as your birth date approaches, as the baby could put pressure on the main blood vessels in your abdomen when you lie flat on your back.

Exercises best avoided

Whilst keeping fit and healthy in the run up to your baby’s arrival is very much recommended, there are a few activities which aren’t suitable for pregnancy.

Heavy weight lifting is best left alone for a while – you’re already putting enough strain on your musculoskeletal system carrying the extra weight of your baby. Likewise, sports with a high risk of injury are not recommended. So stay off the ice-hockey rink, the football pitch and the basketball courts. Scuba-diving, horse riding and gymnastics should also all be avoided.

Don’t let your pregnancy put you off exercise all together though! Stay active and your body, as well as your baby, will thank you!

About The Author

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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