Here are some common questions posed by pregnant mum’s with regards to exercising during pregnancy.
Is it safe for me to exercise during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to exercise during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester! If you are a healthy individual who is having a smooth pregnancy, it is extremely safe for you to exercise during pregnancy. If fact, maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best.
Besides improving your posture and decreasing some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue, physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, decrease labour time and build more stamina needed for labour and delivery.
Who should not exercise during pregnancy?
If you have a medical problem, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, exercise may not be advisable. Exercise may also be harmful if you have a pregnancy-related condition such as:
Bleeding or spotting
Threatened or recurrent miscarriage
Previous premature births or history of early labor
How often should I exercise during pregnancy?
If you are just starting an exercise program as a way of improving your health during your pregnancy, you should start very slowly and be careful not to over exert yourself. Do also consult you GP before starting any exercise programme.
Aim for a thirty minute work out programme, two to three times a week. Remember to warm up before and cool down after.
What types of exercise are recommended when I’m pregnant?
The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, dancing, indoor stationary cycling, yoga, tai chi and low-impact aerobics (taught by a certified aerobics instructor). These activities carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth.
You should also consider pelvic floor exercises, which can help make the birth easier and prevent complications later on. Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles that control urination, which unfortunately during pregnancy becomes slack.
What exercises are off the menu when pregnant?
It’s best to avoid exercising while lying on your back, since the weight of the baby may interfere with blood circulation and reduce blood flow to the heart. Also avoid any exercise that involves long periods of standing.
Avoid activities that increase your risk of falls or injury to your stomach, such as high-impact sports like soccer, hockey or vigorous racket sports. Roller blading, snow boarding, downhill or water skiing and horse back riding should also be avoided. The danger of falling is inherent in these sports. Even mild injuries to the “tummy” area can be serious when you’re pregnant.
Scuba diving is also not suitable for pregnant women as gas bubbles could form in baby’s blood stream. Do also avoid high intensity aerobics, which puts unnecessary stress on the joints. With regards to running, it’s best to keep that to post partum unless you are an experienced runner. Running can put you at risk of knee injuries and leave you dehydrated.
Other pregnancy exercise tips
Because of our hot weather, it is best to exercise in the early morning or late evening to help you avoid getting overheated. If you’re exercising indoors, make sure the room has enough ventilation. Consider using a fan to help keep yourself cool. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
As the pregnancy progresses, reduce the intensity level. Remember that even if you are exercising less intensely, the actual level of what you are doing is more difficult, due to the added weight of the baby. If you feel any pain or experience bleeding, palpitations, faintness or headache, stop immediately.
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