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Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise is both good for you and your baby and it is thought that exercise during pregnancy will help with late pregnancy and labour. Exercise during pregnancy is a great way to get used to gaining weigh in pregnancy and how your body changes shape.

Exercise also will prepare you for when labour comes and getting your figure back after having your baby. You should aim to keep up with your normal exercise as long as you feel comfortable, whether that is walking, running, dancing etc.

The benefits
• It can reduce tiredness
• It can improve your sleep
• It can help with constipation
• It can ease back pain
• It can improve your mood
• It can improve your well-being
• It can help with health problems such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes

What type of exercise to do
You should aim to do a mixture of both strengthening and aerobic exercise during pregnancy.
Strengthening exercise is exercise where you use your muscles against a resistance such as weights or even your own weight. Aerobic exercise is exercise that uses oxygen and raises your heart rate to make you a little breathless. The aim is to improve your fitness. Examples could be walking fast or swimming.

Pelvic Floor Exercises
These exercises are important as they strengthen the muscles that will be stretched during birth and pregnancy. The pelvic floor usually supports your bladder, bowel and womb but when pregnant they also support the baby so it is very important that you keep these muscles working and strong. By having a strong pelvic floor you will reduce post –birth problems such as incontinence.

First Trimester
Exercise can be tricky in this trimester, as you may be feeling sick and tired. Your body is under going a lot of change and so it is important to listen to your body. If you feel like you can exercise then there is no reason not to. Your baby is well protected for you to be able to do many sports. If you are suffering a bit with low energy, you could have a go at some walking or pilates until you have got some more energy.

Second Trimester
In the second trimester you may find that you have much more energy and that the tiredness and sickness has eased. It is best to do exercise that you enjoy, as long as it is not causing you any pain and you feel safe. You may want to avoid doing exercise that involves lying on your back, as you can feel a little dizzy at this point

Third Trimester
For the final trimester you will be bearing a lot more weight as the baby grows. You will probably feel more tired again. With a larger bump it may be uncomfortable to exercise or you may get breathless during aerobic activity. Stretching may still be possible an also exercises that involve relaxation. This could be something like pregnancy yoga or pilates classes.

Things to consider
Listen to your body.
Do not exhaust yourself.
Drink a lot.
Be careful exercising in hot weather.
Be active daily.
Do not start something new.
Do not exhaust yourself.
You should still be able to have a conversation whilst exercising.
Avoid contact sports.
Avoid sports where you could fall.
Lying on your back can make you woozy.
Swimming supports your heavier weight.


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