Get into the BUMP AND GRIND ... the complete guide to pregnancy fitness
in the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, pregnant women can adopt the current American College of Sports Medicine recommendations of 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all days of the week" (reference acog.org).
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Depending on how far along you are, you could be feeling anything from happy and full of energy, to exhausted or nauseous! Hopefully, it's the former, and you are reading this, maybe thinking about starting an active routine.
Many healthcare professionals recommend that pregnant women take some form of regular exercise. We are realising more and more how important physical exercise is to not only our health, but the health of our unborn baby.
A lot of women want to keep up some sort of exercise, and healthy lifestyle, and even women who have never done much exercise before feel the need to start something during their pregnancies.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy speak for themselves - provided your midwife or GP has NOT told you to avoid exercise. If you keep up a light level of fitness throughout your pregnancy, you will find that you will have increased energy levels, sleep better and feel great after a workout.
You will build muscle and keep up a level of cardio fitness thus helping you to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Heightened fitness helps to avoid gestational diabetes, plus - you may not feel as tired towards the end.
Increased fitness will also:
• Alleviate back pain - strengthened legs help you, instead of your lower back, carry the extra weight of baby and amniotic sac
• Help with preparing for labour - strong body, strong mind
• Strengthen your arms and back, helping you carry bags, buggies, car seats etc
• Reduce stress levels - endorphins produced during exercise lower stress
• Keep your spirits up
• Improves your self-image
• Help recover from childbirth
• Help regain your body after childbirth faster - high metabolism, healthy eating and looking after yourself all help you to get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans
• Studies have also shown that babies born to women who eat healthily and exercise are less likely to be overweight both in childhood and later life.
Once you are past the 12-week stage, you are able to take up some light exercise.
Make sure you have cleared it with your doctor and always bear in mind safety guidelines.
• Listen to your body - if you feel weak, light-headed, dizzy or unwell, stop straight away and take a rest
• Make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes
• If you feel you are overheating, slow down
• Don't lie on your back for longer than 30 seconds - a growing baby can lie on your vena cava and slow blood flow to the heart, causing dizziness
• Get up from the floor slowly
• Don't stretch arms above heart
• Don't overstretch - relaxin, a hormone which relaxes your joints and muscles, is present, and stretching too much can cause a muscle to tear
• Cool down for at least 5 minutes and remember that now is not the time to throw yourself into loads of exercise, or for trying to lose weight.
• There are many exercises you should completely avoid while pregnant including: Any activity that will raise your heart rate too high
• Any activity that will make you sweat too much - you heat from the inside out, so your baby will be very warm in there
• Any jumping or bouncing exercises - always have one foot firmly on the floor at all times
• DON'T DO ABDOMINAL EXERCISES - they can cause diastus recti, the separation of the abdominal wall
• Step aerobics - balance is thrown and it's easy to fall off step
• Cycling after 2nd trimester
• Running/Jogging - a big debate but I would recommend stopping as it is high impact
what you can do...
• Aqua aerobics - inform the instructor you're pregnant
• Light aerobics routine - again, one foot on the floor
• Strength routine using dumbbells or dynabands - make sure to keep your arms below shoulder height, so don't raise your arms above your heart
Steph Sinnott, Baby Body Fit, Tel: 087 925 4378