You might be someone who pre-pregnancy used to exercise every day and now that you’re pregnant you are unsure whether you should exercise or not. And if you should exercise, what types of exercise can you do safely without risking your pregnancy.
Firstly, you should always seek advice from your healthcare professional. Every woman is different, every pregnancy is different.
Research has shown that women who have a normal pregnancy (low risk) and exercise during pregnancy have reduced rates of postpartum depression. Also, women who exercised in water during their pregnancy had shorter labour than those who did not. So there are benefits to exercising whilst pregnant and research has been able to support this.
What should I be doing then?
Much of the research has focused on the benefits of exercising for about 150 minutes per week during pregnancy. Don’t worry you don’t have to do it all in one go you can split it throughout the week. 150 minutes roughly equates to 21 minutes of exercise a day.
Don’t worry if you’re not someone who hits the gym because you don’t need to do anything you don’t enjoy. Remember exercise is anything that will raise your heart rate. So start to think about the things you enjoy doing. It could be swimming, brisk walking, yoga, pilates, dancing, basically anything that gets you moving and working those muscles.
If you’re new to exercise then just start by doing 5 minutes a day and build up gradually. Being pregnant is not an excuse to be lazy and cut out exercise from your daily routine. According to research, the benefits of exercise are incremental so even if you don’t manage to do 150 hours a week doing some exercise is better than none at all.
There are some sports that you should avoid during pregnancy and these are those that carry a higher risk of falling or abdominal injury, like boxing, gymnastics, skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, vigorous racket sports, horse riding, outdoor cycling, ice hockey, football basketball, netball, diving, bungee jumping and rollerblading and so on.
Exercise can help improve your and your baby’s overall health and well-being so don’t be afraid but remember to always seek professional clinical advice before doing any exercise during pregnancy especially if it’s something you have not done before.
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