Pregnancy is tough. You are gaining weight and growing more tired by the day as your bump gets bigger. That shouldn’t stop you from doing some physical activity and keeping active during pregnancy. Carrying out regular and gentle exercise during your pregnancy comes with a number of health benefits. This includes helping to reduce backache, preventing constipation, eliminating stress and fatigue and preventing the onset of gestational diabetes.
Regular activity during pregnancy can also improve a woman’s ability to cope with labour. Staying fit while expecting can also help you to lose weight and regain your figure after you have given birth.
What types of physical activity is recommended during pregnancy?
Swimming is considered one of the safest and most effective forms of activities during pregnancy. The water helps support your extra weight, making it feel easier to manoeuvre and exercise in a pool. Not only this but by supporting your body weight, swimming comes as a huge relief to many pregnant women, particularly during the third trimester.
Unlike other forms of aerobic activity, which make you feel hot, swimming can help cool you down, which, when you’re eight months pregnant, can also come as a big relief. Like with all exercises whilst pregnant, you should not overdo it in the swimming pool.
Pilates is a fantastic exercise during pregnancy. Not only does Pilates help pregnant women relax through the right breathing techniques and stretches, but it can help women maintain their abdominal muscle tone.By maintaining abdominal muscle tone, Pilates can help support your rapidly expanding tummy. It can also help reduce back pain and give you more pushing power during labour.
Walking is another effective activity to help keep you healthy during pregnancy. In fact, walking is deemed as one of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. You can walk to your heart’s content for absolutely no cost whatsoever or equipment required. Walking will get the heart pumping and the blood circulating round the body, without putting too much pressure or strain on the joints.
Walking and other physical activity will help control your weight during pregnancy, leaving you less prone to being at risk of type 2 diabetes after delivery. Guidelines by the NHS recommend pregnant women walk for around 150 minutes a week. This equates to a 30-minute walk, five times a week.
Pelvic floor exercises
You may or may not have heard of pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor exercises essentially refer to the strengthening and tightening of the pelvic muscles, designed to help assist an easier delivery and get the pelvic muscles back to their former condition following the birth of the baby.
This activity involves sitting on the floor comfortably and squeezing the pelvic muscles 10 – 15 times consecutively. To make pelvic floor muscle exercises even more effective, on each squeeze, try to hold it for several seconds before releasing.
Practicing yoga regularly when you are expecting comes with a number of benefits to your health and wellbeing. Some of the health benefits of pre-natal yoga include improved sleep, and an increase in flexibility, strength and endurance, which can significantly help during labour and delivery.
Expectant mums can also benefit from decreased lower back pain, a reduction in feelings of nausea, reduced stress and anxiety, a decrease in headaches and carpel tunnel syndrome, as well as being at less risk from going into preterm labour. Prenatal yoga involves practicing breathing techniques, which can help women work through contractions during labour. Posture can also be improved as you will be encouraged to move various parts of your body during a prenatal yoga class, including your neck, arms and legs.
Plie is an effective type of activity you can carry out during your pregnancy to help maintain a healthy body weight and improve your mental wellbeing.
Plie involves standing parallel to a strong chair with one hand resting on the back of the chair. Gently bend your knees and lower your torso so it’s as low as you can go whilst keeping your back straight.You should then straighten your legs and return to the position you started in. For maximum effect, repeat the exercise several times and try to carry it out on a daily basis.