Lots of women question if they should continue to exercise w=once they are pregnant, and for most people the answer is a resounding yes!
Maintaining fitness whilst you're pregnant will help you both physically and psychologically, preparing you for labour as well as helping to reduce many common complaints such as tiredness, varicose veins and swollen ankles. Regular exercise can help alleviate discomfort such as lower back pain and even help reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Even a modest amount of exercise will release those feel good endorphins, lift your mood and make it easier to sleep, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Experts recommend that healthy pregnant women should be aiming for at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Whilst no-one would recommend taking up marathon running as a new activity when you become pregnant it's never too late to introduce a gentle programme of exercise into your routine.
Anything that keeps you active will encourage a fit and healthy pregnancy - and there are plenty of activities that can take place without leaving home.
If you're anxious about how much you should be doing ask your doctor or midwife.
Ask first if you have
Cardiac or lung disease Persistent bleeding High blood pressure Anaemia Pre-eclampsia Pre-term labour (either this pregnancy or previously) Diagnosed weakness in your cervix (IC) Expecting twins or a multiple birth Placenta praevia after 26 weeks Your waters have broken Eating disorders (including malnutrition or obesity) Limited mobility Thyroid disease Diabetes mellitus
But if you get any of the following symptoms stop and contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms
Excessive shortness of breath
Feeling faint or dizzy
Bleeding or leakage of amniotic fluid
Pain in the lower back of pelvic area
Contractions (although some people find gently yoga beneficial)
Unusual muscle pain or weakness
A pain or swelling in your calf (which could indicate a blood clot)
Activities to avoid during pregnancy
There are some activities that you really should shelve until after your baby is born (and not just sumo-wrestling or bungee jumping!) and some that you should think twice about even if you are already a regular participant.
Downhill skiing or snowboarding (it's the risk of falling!)
Rock climbing (apart from the risk of falling your bump will get in the way!)
Water skiing (not just because you might fall but you also risk of a rush of water internally)
Scuba diving (the underwater pressure on your baby makes this a no no)
Contact sports (most team games can put you at risk of injury)
But this leaves plenty of scope to keep fit!
Plenty of women have carried on marathon running, swimming, cycling and enjoying pilates, yoga, regular gym workouts, light weight training, dancing and other activities. Wearing well designed exercise clothes that help support your bump will make any activity more comfortable.
Alexandra McCabe is a founder of https://www.fittamamma.com, the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with workout videos, recipes and step by step guides. The benefits of exercise in pregnancy and tips on safe prenatal workouts http://www.fittamamma.com/section.php/29/1/can_you_exercise_when_pregnant
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