What Exercises Can I Do During Pregnancy?
Keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy is important for the health of you and your baby.
You should try to stay active and exercise, unless advised otherwise by your doctor. Exercising will prepare your body for the physical demands of labour, birth, and becoming a mother!
Walking can be a great way of getting gentle exercise and fresh air during pregnancy. Doctors and midwives often recommend swimming, because the water supports your weight whilst giving your heart, lungs and muscles a gentle workout. Aqua-natal classes are specifically designed to allow pregnant women to exercise in water.
It is important to take care of your back during pregnancy, as it takes the strain of the weight as your baby grows. Try to keep a good posture, which will improve the tone of your muscles and avoid hollowing of your spine, which can cause lower back ache. A good idea to get the weight off your spine is to lie down during rest periods. Move onto all fours and arch your back like a cat to help stretch the muscles in your back. Learn how to get up correctly from a lying down position, without putting pressure on your stomach muscles. Roll over to one side, draw your knees upwards, and push yourself up gently with your arms whilst swinging your legs around to sit up. Use your legs, not your back, when lifting anything.
Antenatal yoga classes specific exercises to tone muscles, and relieve aches and pains experienced during pregnancy. Many women enjoy them because they help you feel relaxed and calm.
Pelvic floor exercises are important both during pregnancy and in the weeks following the birth. Pelvic floor muscles support everything inside the pelvic cavity (such as the uterus, the bladder and rectum). These muscles are crucial during labour as the baby is travelling down the birth canal. Pelvic floor exercises help you to control these muscles. Your midwife or antenatal teacher will be able to give you a full set of these exercises, if you are not taking yoga classes.
Exercise in pregnancy can be of great benefit. It enables you to improve your fitness and also gives you an opportunity to concentrate on yourself and your growing baby. Don't overdo it to start with - begin gently and build up over time.