Exercising through Pregnancy

Exercising through PregnancyExercising through pregnancy historically has been avoided and it was thought that too much physical activity would harm the unborn baby. Mothers to be were told to put their feet up and take these 9 months easy. Although rest and relaxing is very important, research and science has shown actually that not moving the body enough can have serious consequences on both the mother and baby.

Regular exercise along with eating a balanced healthy diet, will help the development of the baby AND equip the mother’s body to do it’s job as best it can. Research has suggested that the benefits of exercising whilst pregnant can be reaped by the mother 10 even 20 years later!

Many physical conditions which occur through through pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, symphysis pubis dysfunction, lower back pain, muscle cramps, varicose veins, nausea and vomiting can be helped by regular exercise. Obviously you need to do the right type of exercise, but nevertheless, exercise will help to reduce or manage these common conditions which are caused by the ever increasing demands on the body.  

Over the last 7ish months of my pregnancy so far, my own exercise routine as adapted. Through each trimester I have felt different because the body constantly changes and develops. I thought it would be useful to share my own exercise diary for each trimester and explain why. Each pregnancy is different and I have had a really great pregnancy so far. I know that some people suffer more greatly so the best thing is to listen to your body, your doctor and try and find some kind of exercise / physical activity that feels good and right for YOUR body.

1st Trimester:

Exercise? Swimming x1 per week and walking between 1 – 2 hours x5 per week

Why? I suffered with a lot of nausea, multiple times a day and was absolutely shattered! I felt as if someone had switched my energy levels off completely so my exercise frequency went down significantly for around 8 weeks towards the end of my 1st trimester. Because my job involves so much walking and general movement, I did not have the energy to go to an exercise class myself on top of working. As soon as I was really tired, if I did not go to sleep straight away, I would start to feel very sick. I did feel ‘guilty’ about it, but I really did not have a choice in the matter!

However, if your job is desk bound and you are suffering from nausea or tiredness, I actually think an exercise class would help you to feel better (as long as you are not actually being sick!). Remain hydrated, do gentle exercise and try and fit it in before the tiredness sets in.

2nd Trimester:

Exercise? Swimming x1 per week, walking 1 – 2 hours x5 per week, weights (low) training session x1 per week, Pregnancy Pilates Reformer class x1 per week, 10 minute stretch every day

Why? My energy came back in at full force as soon as I entered the second trimester! I felt like myself again and wanted to capitalise on that feeling. I really focussed on toning exercises with weights and resistance (dumbbells or reformer) to ensure that my legs, back and abdominals were prepared for the increase of body weight which was due to come my way in the third trimester!

The second trimester is typically where you feel the best and your bump is probably not too cumbersome yet! Make use of these months and enjoy this time. It is a great period to strengthen your body and keep fit in preparation for the following trimester.

3rd Trimester:

Exercise? Swimming x1 per week, walking 1 – 2 hours x5 per week, Pregnancy Yoga class x1 per week, Pregnancy Pilates mathwork session x1 per week, 10 minute stretch every day

Why? My energy was and still is up so it is mainly the increasing size of my tummy which has made some movements inappropriate. I have also noticed that my muscles feel quite tense and I am sure that is to do with the additional pressure and weight. The inclusion of Pregnancy Yoga has helped me to stretch out the tight areas and also ‘bond’ with my baby belly!

This trimester is really about preparing your body and mind for birth so the gentle Yoga and Pilates are perfect as they will help in labour, keep you calm and ease out those tight muscles.

I hope you have found this helpful and please pass on to others as it is so important to keep active throughout pregnancy. Remember it is not just for your unborn child but of you too!

I have posted some short routines on my Instagram for exercise ideas!

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