Why should I exercise in pregnancy?
Firstly regular mild to moderate exercise is good for cardiovascular health and helps keep blood pressure low. Secondly, exercise burns up calories, helping to guard against rapid weight gain and the risk of Diabetes in pregnancy. Thirdly, you will, with a little effort, improve fitness and this will help improve your stamina for labour and your postnatal recovery. Fourthly, regular exercise as well as other factors like avoiding caffeine in the evenings and not too much screen time at night help with getting adequate sleep. Finally – it’s great for mental health and relieving general anxiety which seems to be so prevalent in the 21st century.
What types of exercise are appropriate in pregnancy?
Number one is to find an exercise that you enjoy or are familiar with. Every person is different this way. Walking requires no particular skill, is enjoyable and a great way to burn calories. If you like the gym then doing classes and circuits 2-3 times a week is perfect. You will need to reduce the intensity slightly and be careful not to lift heavy weights ( it’s easy to put your back out in pregnancy). Pilates and yoga are very popular and especially beneficial as they help you develop ” core strength. This means your abdominal and back muscle tone improves. This really helps you cope in the last couple of months when your baby is quite big and putting pressure on the abdomen and pelvis.
Swimming is ideal as many pregnant women find the buoyancy in water is comfortable and relieves some of the day to day aches and pains in pregnancy. Being non-weight bearing it is particularly gentle if your back or pelvis is giving you trouble in your pregnancy.
How often should I exercise in pregnancy?
Many women are concerned that exercise might be harmful to the pregnancy. In general, doing 2-4 sessions per week of mild to moderate intensity for 30-50 minutes is associated with normal birthweight. On the other hand, doing an hour or more daily is associated with a significantly lower birth weight on average, and is therefore excessive in pregnancy.
To discuss your pregnancy with an expert private obstetrician, make an appointment to see Dr Peter England.
Did you know you can also choose the option of Private GP Shared Care during your pregnancy?
Pregnancy Hormones can change the way you feel – read the blog post to learn how.
For more information on pregnancy exercise.