Today’s guest post touches on the importance of good prenatal care in general and how exercise can help in that specifically. If you were able to keep up a good routine during pregnancy, do share in the comments!
Exercise might be the last thing you feel like doing as your belly expands and some days getting out of bed feels like a challenge, but keeping active during pregnancy can have a multitude of benefits for your body. As long as there are no complications during your pregnancy, you can continue exercising throughout.
Exercise gives you more energy, stronger back muscles to help support your growing belly, and can help make labour easier by building stamina and muscle tone. It also helps you feel better. Exercise releases mood-lifting endorphins, great for when morning sickness and tiredness are taking their toll!
Exercise also helps with those oh so lovely side effects of pregnancy such as varicose veins and constipation, as well as circulation problems. The endorphins released during exercise will also help keep fatigue at bay, and may help you sleep better. Grab those 40 winks while you still can, baby will have different ideas about night-time when he/she arrives!
More serious problems such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia can also be prevented as they have a lower chance of occurring in pregnant women who exercise regularly. The benefits of exercising during pregnancy continue into the postnatal period. The average woman puts on 2 stone during pregnancy, so being fit during your pregnancy makes it easier to fit back into those coveted skinny jeans!
A gentle jog in the park, or a walk to the shops (any excuse to treat yourself to a new maternity outfit), dancing, pilates or aquanatal classes are safe ways to exercise while pregnant. Cycling is a good form of exercise too, but switch to an exercise bike in the second and third trimesters as the shift in balance will make you more susceptible to a fall. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise in pregnancy, not only does it use more muscles than other forms of exercise, but as the water supports your weight, it helps ease backache caused by pregnancy. Check out your local pool for classes designed for pregnant women.
However, pregnancy isn’t however the time to start a hard-core exercise regime. Stick with gentle exercise, and do it in moderation, as you have a higher chance of straining yourself whilst pregnant. Avoid contact sports and any sports where you might fall. Diving is also to be avoided as it can harm your baby. Check with your midwife or doctor if you’re unsure which forms of exercise are safe, and before you start any new exercise regime. Remember to stop exercising at any time if you experience problems such as dizziness, headaches or chest pain.
Antenatal yoga is a popular form of exercise for pregnant women, as it’s low-impact and helps tone the muscles used in childbirth (just make sure you don’t wander into the advanced session by mistake, now is not the time to show off how flexible you are by twisting your head around your ankles!). It’s also a great way of making friends with other mums-to-be, and gives you the opportunity to build a network of mums to meet up with when your baby arrives. Making new friends and boasting your health at the same time – perfect! After all your hard work, sit down and relax, you’ve earned it!
Maria loves writing about pregnancy and the benefits of healthy exercise through introducing different activities at this time. She knows that it can really help!