There is still a lot of fear out there that stops pregnant women from exercising. In the past exercising during pregnancy was frowned upon and pregnant women were encouraged to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
Have you heard the myth:
‘if you weren’t exercising before pregnancy you shouldn’t start now!’
Well the risk is actually with inactivity; This could contribute to excess weight gain, high blood pressure, back pain and a higher risk of gestational diabetes! Even though you are not looking to increase your fitness you can maintain a baseline fitness to aid pregnancy and help with post-natal recovery.
Moderate intensity exercise including weight training 2-3 times a week and a healthy diet during pregnancy has many benefits including reduced maternal weight gain and fat accumulation.
Exercise during the 1st and 2nd trimesters has been associated with feeling better in the 3rd trimester and during labour with fewer discomforts throughout.
Studies have shown that during the third trimester women who exercise regularly perceived their labour as less painful which can be linked to higher levels of the body’s natural painkillers; endorphins.
Postural changes take place during pregnancy which can lead to back pain and joint soreness and by enhancing muscular balance from exercise these symptoms can be relieved. Strength training is key to working ligaments and tendons supporting the muscles in demand when carrying a baby.
The placentas of those who exercise regularly throughout pregnancy also grow faster and function better than those of women who are more sedentary. The placenta is responsible for filtering nutrients through to baby.
And don’t forget those important pelvic floor muscles!
The key is:
As long as there are no medical complications you should keep active!
(Always consult your doctor or midwife before beginning any exercise regime)