If you are keen to keep fit during your pregnancy but want to make sure you do it safely and effectively, just follow these five straightforward tips.
Why is it important to keep fit during pregnancy?
Keeping fit and active during pregnancy makes it much easier to carry the extra weight you will gain and help ensure you have the stamina needed for the birth. Once your baby is born, it will also help you regain your pre-pregnancy figure more quickly.
If you regularly exercised prior to becoming pregnant, you will be able to do continue frequently exercising, although you may need to reduce the intensity of your workouts and cut out any high-risk activities.
If you rarely exercised before becoming pregnant, however, you should tread more carefully, and only start incorporating gentle low-impact activities into your routine.
1. Pick the right activities for you
Yoga, swimming and low-impact aerobics are great choices for pregnant women. Your local pool may run aquanatal classes, which are a great way to keep fit while having fun and meeting other women. There are also a number of yoga and active birthing classes available around the country.
If, like Kim Kardashian, you’d like to keep going to the gym throughout your pregnancy, just let your fitness instructor know you’re pregnant, and they will be able to advise you how to continue safely.
It’s always a good idea to speak to your midwife too prior to taking up or continuing an exercise programme.
Of course, you can keep fit during pregnancy without donning a swimsuit or Lycra. Throughout your pregnancy, walking is great exercise – and you can do it in your maternity jeans!
2. Activities to avoid
You should avoid taking part in any sports in which you could be hurt by another person or a ball. You should also avoid activities with a risk of falling, such as horse-riding, cycling and downhill skiing.
Don’t take part in any activities that require you to lie flat on your back, either, as this can cause pregnant women to feel faint.
3. Regular short sessions
Exercise is most beneficial if taken in short regular doses. Thirty minutes of exercise, five times a week, will be better for you than an hour three times a week.
4. Warm up and down
It’s especially important to warm up and warm down before exercising when pregnant to give your heart a chance to speed up and slow down gradually.
5. Don’t overheat
Overheating is not good for you or your baby, so don’t exercise in the hot sun or in warm rooms. Make sure you drink plenty of cool water before you begin too, and take frequent sips from a bottle while you are working out.
Above all, use your common sense and listen to your body: this is not the time to push yourself, so take it easy and instead enjoy gentle, regular exercise.