Whether you have only recently discovered the wonderful news or you have been pregnant for several months, exercise may well be the very last thing on your mind.
The extra weight of your little growing passenger, water retention, sore back and other symptoms may make you feel like waiting out your pregnancy in the comfort of your bed, with plenty of pillows, endless pots of tea and Netflix!
Exercise can be a huge benefit you both you and your bub. Fortunately, not only are many types of exercise still fine to do when pregnant, exercise can also be one of the best ways to overcome or reduce all those niggling symptoms and even improve your baby’s health and your labour and your postpartum recovery.
Even exercise of any kind increases your oxygen levels and this is a huge benefit to your reproductive system – the uterus, placenta and so on – as well as the vitality of blood passed on to your baby. Throughout your pregnancy, it is recommended that you take about 30 minutes of exercise every day, for an easier labour and improved health for the both of you.
But, What Sort of Pregnancy Exercise Should You Do?
Any form of high-impact sport or exercise that risks impact, such as mountain biking, snowboarding and so on, can put both of you in danger. Crashes and bumps can lead to numerous severe complications and it’s just not worth the risk. Even horseriding can cause too many jolts for your tummy, so it is best avoided altogether. Some proficient surfers still paddle out well into their pregnancies, but now is not the time to be learning.
Instead, choose low-impact sports that minimise risk. Brisk walking, leisure cycling, swimming, even household chores and gardening can all help towards your overall pregnancy health and wellbeing. Belly Bands can be worn through all of these gentle exercises reducing movement of your baby bump and offering protection to postpartum surgery and healing sites.
Hit the Gym
If you aren’t a member of a gym, now might be the time. Book in with a personal trainer to get specific advice and build a routine that works with your pregnancy.
Cross trainers, treadmills and exercise bikes are perfect for improving your cardio health and getting lots of fresh and healthy blood to your little one without risk, though you should always keep within your limits and never over-exert yourself.
Weightlifting, resistance bands and TRX bodyweight trainers are great ways to maintain or even build your strength. Again though, don’t go crazy! Keep it gentle and opt for more reps rather than heavier weights. While core work can help your prenatal health, it should be limited and only done with expert instruction.
Chill Out with Pregnancy Yoga
Alternative forms of exercise are absolutely perfect for your pregnancy and postpartum recovery. These include tai chi, barre, Pilates and everyone’s favourite, yoga. All low-impact, all self-controlled, these don’t place excessive forces on your body and work towards improving your flexibility, breath awareness and control, and your overall wellbeing.
Many yoga centres offer pregnancy or postpartum yoga, so ask Google where your nearest practice is and ask them about their classes.
Fortunately, Belly Bands are incredibly comfortable and flexible, allowing you to practice yoga, Pilates and other exercises while still feeling supported.
Practice at Home
One of the best places you can go is your very own living room. Practitioners, personal trainers and teachers have many classes online, allowing you to access everything from HIIT training to mellow yoga classes from the comfort of your own home. www.doyogawithme.com and www.glo.com offer excellent online yoga classes for all abilities.
Last of all, while it may not seem like an exercise, meditation is an incredibly valuable practice. There are many apps, such as Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm, that will provide step-by-step tutorials and guided meditations to help you relax, maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure and manage stress, anxiety and more. Simply sitting in a quiet space and breathing consciously can be one of the most beneficial and powerful practices throughout your pregnancy journey.
Exercise when pregnant can help you enjoy the experience so much more, feel better, relieve symptoms and assist labour and recovery, so try to get out there and keep active throughout pregnancy.
NOTE: With all pregnancies and any form of exercise, it is always essential to consult your obstetrician or doctor first.