It’s no secret that exercise is beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Pregnant women are encouraged to exercise which assists our changing body with improved fitness, increased energy and better weight control. Our favourite reason for exercising whilst pregnant is it naturally improves your mood! The physical demands of pregnancy bundled together with increased tiredness can make you feel a little flat. There is nothing like a great exercise session to rejuvenate your body and mind. The best part is you can keep your Belly wrap on during exercise for that extra support.
It’s important to ensure you get the all clear to continue exercising during pregnancy from your GP or OB and remember if you didn’t do much exercise before pregnancy, there is no way you should be training for a half marathon in the coming months! It is important to be mindful of your fitness levels and take into consideration these 3 very important changes:
- Increase in body weight – the change in body weight can alter your balance and co-ordination and can make some forms of exercise uncomfortable.
- The ligaments and joints around the pelvic region will begin to loosen – this can increase your risk of injury and exercises with quick changes of direction, jumping or jerky movements should be avoided.
- An increase in your resting heart rate – it is important to not over exert yourself as you could become breathless and a drop in blood pressure whilst pregnant can also cause dizziness or make you feel light headed.
The good news is that despite these changes to your body there are plenty of safe forms of exercise that you can enjoy.
- Walking provides a total body work out, whilst being gentle on your joints and muscles
- Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to exercise, the water supports the weight of your baby, you receive a great cardiovascular workout and there is no risk of falling or losing balance.
- Jogging is safe in moderation but only if you were running frequently prior to becoming pregnant.
- Cycling is great for your cardiovascular fitness and will help improve leg muscle strength. It is recommended though to stick to a stationary bicycle as the balance and co-ordination weaknesses caused by your growing belly can become risky.
- Pelvic floor and core strength exercises are incredibly important whilst pregnant. The more you maintain strong pelvic floor muscles the easier it will be to regain the strength in those muscles post labour. Your abdominal muscles and core strength support your spine and pelvis. Traditional sit ups can cause abdominal separation (diastasis recti abdominis) and may prove ineffective. However there are many core exercises like planking or drawing in your belly button towards your spine and holding it for 10 seconds before releasing, that are safe. After the first trimester it is advised not to exercise lying on our back to ensure you reduce the risk of affecting blood flow to the foetus or compression on the uterus.
- Weight and strength training can provide strength and flexibility, it can help you maintain your centre of gravity more effectively and can help prevent lower back problems. Like jogging or running, if you did not weight train prior to pregnancy it is not advised.
- Yoga allows you to experience mindful exercise. Be guided by your yoga instructor as to what movements are safe for you and you baby.
You know your body better than anyone, so if something feels uncomfortable it is probably a good idea to not continue with that exercise.
And remember, the Belly Bandit wraps and products will help support your belly, back and hips during and after exercise.
It’s also a lot of fun to exercise with friends! Make it social and you will be more inspired.