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Keeping fit during pregnancy : Overview

Keeping fit during pregnancy

During pregnancy your body goes through many changes to accommodate for the baby growing inside you. It is important to maintain your fitness and also to be aware of what you can and can’t do. Regular exercise not only has health benefits during your pregnancy but it also helps to organize the body for childbirth.

Exercising during pregnancy

Doing regular physical activity has health benefits during pregnancy and also helps to organize the body for childbirth. However, it's 
important to switch or choose an appropriate exercise program because pregnancy affects the body’s response to exercise.

Be sensible about the level of exercise that you do. Consult a doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional to form 
sure the exercise routine isn't harmful for you or your baby. If the pregnancy is complicated (such as expecting quite one baby, high vital sign , heart condition , pre-eclampsia, or risk of premature births) it's best to speak to a doctor.

Exercise tips

Exercise tips when you’re pregnant:


Ø     Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.

Ø     Try to keep active on a daily basis; 30 minutes of walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing. If you haven’t been active or are overweight, start with 3-4 days spread across the week.

Ø     Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot or humid weather.

Ø     Drink plenty of water and other fluids.

Ø     If you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher is properly qualified, and knows that you’re pregnant and how many weeks pregnant you are.

Ø     You might like to try swimming because the water will support your increased weight. Some local swimming pools provide aquanatal classes with qualified instructors.

Ø     Walking is a great exercise — it is a moderate aerobic activity but will have minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices are swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike.


Exercises to avoid


Ø     Don’t lie flat on your back, particularly after 16 weeks, because the weight of your bump presses on the big blood vessels and can make you feel faint and reduce blood flow to your baby.

Ø     Don’t take part in contact sports where there’s a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, judo, squash, tennis, football or rugby.

Ø     Don’t take part in horse riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling, because there’s a risk of falling.

Ø     Don’t go scuba-diving, because the baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism (gas bubbles in the bloodstream).

Ø     Don’t exercise at heights over 2,500m above sea level until you have acclimatised. This is because you and your baby are in danger of hypoxia (a decrease in oxygen).

Ø     Don’t do repetitive high impact exercise, or with lots of twists and turns, high stepping or sudden stops that cause joint discomfort.

Weight gain in pregnancy

As your baby grows, you'll 
gradually gain weight. How much weight you gain will depend upon what proportion you weighed before your pregnancy.
While most girls gain between 11.5 kg and 16 kg, what proportion weight you gain is influenced by:


Ø     your weight before you were pregnant — if you’re underweight you may need to gain a little more, and if you’re overweight you should gain a little less

Ø     if you’re carrying twins

Ø     if you have morning sickness

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch sort of a 
supportive hammock from the pubis (in front) to the top of the backbone.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, you'll 
find that you simply leak urine once you cough, sneeze or strain. This is quite common and you needn’t feel embarrassed. It’s referred to as enuresis and it can continue after pregnancy.

Yoga and Pilates during pregnancy

Many women enjoy doing yoga and Pilates while they are pregnant. Find out how yoga and Pilates can help you, as well as some positions to avoid during your pregnancy.

What are the benefits of doing yoga and Pilates during pregnancy?
Provided that your doctor or midwife says they are suitable for you, benefits include:

Increased flexibility and muscle strength

Yoga and Pilates for pregnant women provide specific exercises that can help with stretching, flexibility and building up muscle strength. It’s recommended that strength building for pregnant women includes all the main 
muscle groups.

Better mental health

Both yoga and Pilates use focused breathing and mindfulness, which have been shown to improve mental health by reducing stress, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving mood and promoting relaxation.

Reduced back pain

Yoga can also 
reduce lower back pain, counting on the sort of pain you've got . If you have back pain, it’s best to check with your physiotherapist or doctor and let your yoga or Pilates instructor know about it.

Stronger pelvic floor

Yoga and Pilates classes especially designed for pregnancy often include pelvic floor exercises. These help to strengthen and tone the muscles supporting your pelvic floor, which can stop accidental leakage of urine during pregnancy or after your baby is born.

Tips for doing yoga or Pilates


Ø     Aim to do 2 sessions of strength-building exercise per week, with at least one day between sessions.

Ø     If you are just starting, keep your effort at low intensity, building to moderate intensity. Low intensity means you can still talk comfortably while exercising.

Ø     Be mindful of your breathing. This involves exhaling (breathing out) when you are exerting yourself. Your instructor should also include directions on how to breathe when exercising.

Ø     Ensure that your movements are slow and steady.



Notice: Please consult your doctor before following any instruction of

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