Pregnant woman will tell you they’d be millionaires if they got a dollar every time someone told them to “sit down and rest” or “let me carry that for you”. This mindset of pregnant woman needing to take it easy has been drilled into us for a long time however with all the research that’s out now we know this isn’t the case. Research supports pregnant woman to continue with all pre-pregnancy activities as long as it is comfortable to do so. It’s also brought to light an abundance of information on how a regular exercise routine can come with an array of benefits.
- Reduced severity of pain including lower back, coccyx and pelvic girdle pain
- Reduced risk of diastasis recti (separation of the abdomen)
- Reduced risk of pelvic floor dysfunction
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes
- Reduced risk of pre-eclampsia
- Reduced recovery time post-birth
Where to start
- Light stretching of the muscles that sit around the hips, lower back and chest.
- Going for walks or doing small 15-20 minute bouts on a cardio machine that you feel comfortable doing
- Body weight exercises that focus on the glutes, core, and back
- Get down to a local heated pool and walk laps of the water focusing on multi-direction and simple body weight movements
How to progress
- Stretching needs to stay consistent in terms of intensity as during pregnancy the body releases relaxin this means it’s important not to ever over-stretch your joints.
- Extend your walk or cardio time in small increments that you can tolerate without over-heating
- Invest in a resistance band and add some extra load to your exercises
- Bring a noodle down to the pool with you and add some extra resistance to your in-water activities
Things to be cautious of when moving
- Being on your back if you are more than 16 weeks pregnant
- If you start to over-heat, feel dizzy, feel sharp pains, experience vaginal bleeding or become extremely short of breath cease your activity
- Keep your heart rate max under 90%
- If you are in a pool that’s 33.5-degrees limit your session to 45-minutes