Keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy can feel a little overwhelming when it comes to knowing where to turn for advice. Navigating a changing body, an increased heart rate, cravings and sickness can make your former exercise and eating routine seem impossible.
Below are my top do’s and don’ts of exercising during pregnancy.
Now is not the time to give up
Pregnancy is not the time to hang up your gym bag and forgo exercise, in fact, quite the opposite.
Pregnancy, birth and indeed motherhood are much like a marathon; endurance and good health are needed to tackle the coming months ahead. Whether it be weight training, yoga, pilates, running or walking, all are fantastic forms of exercise for the changing body.
It can seem scary to resume exercise when finding out you’re pregnant, for fear of doing something wrong but in a pregnancy with no complications, exercise is perfectly safe.
But….stick with what you know
Despite this article singing the praises of exercise in pregnancy, embarking on your first marathon or taking up a new sport is maybe not the best timing.
You want to do what you enjoy and what makes your body feel good, we want to maintain fitness and not necessarily challenge it.
Don’t be afraid of resistance training
I always advise working with a pre & postnatally trained exercise specialist when transitioning into weight training whilst pregnant. Here you can learn correct breathing techniques, how to modify your favourite exercises as well as maintain strength and stamina. Car seats and strollers are not light, working and maintaining muscle will also help to make the postpartum period a little easier when it comes to lugging such things around.
Top tips for exercise in each trimester:
Your heart rate will increase
Early on in the first trimester it is very normal for your heart rate to increase, both whilst exercising and at rest. It is perfectly safe to exercise through this but understanding that you might feel out of breath sooner and maybe need to take extra breaks.
Learn what is classed as high risk
Contact sports and those with a high risk of falling should be avoided now and for the rest of your pregnancy.
Be aware of how you move
As pregnancy progresses into the 2nd and 3rd trimesters your ability to get up and down will change; getting into good habits such as rolling to your side to get up will help to prepare you for your growing body and in turn protect your core along the way.
Now might feel like the right time to start modifying certain exercises. For example, push ups can now be performed on your knees or if lying completely prone no longer feels comfortable take a seated position.
Look for ‘doming’
What even is doming? Something most of my clients ask. Doming appears down the midline of your stomach when an exercise or position creates too much pressure for your core to control, thus pushing said pressure out through the middle. Try to slow the movement down to see if you can better control the pressure, if not, best avoid this exercise going forward.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Your pelvic floor is a crucial part of a healthy pregnancy, amongst other things, it supports your uterus and bears much of the weight as the baby grows. It is important to practice your pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegels, every day, especially into the 3rd trimester.
Core workouts…yes really!
You absolutely can perform abdominal exercises into the late stages of pregnancy, as long as you work gently and with control. Knee lifts, pelvic tilts and even side planks can be excellent tools for engaging your deep core muscles which will help support your growing bump as well as your pelvis and lower back too.
Grace Alexandra Jupp - @gracealexandrajupp