advice

body talk:
staying fit in pregnancy

No matter how active you were pre-pregnancy, now a little one is on the way, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re feeling tired and possibly a bit queasy. However, there are lots of benefits to staying fit in pregnancy.

why should i exercise in pregnancy?

Exercising in pregnancy is good for you – honest. It helps to build stamina for the birth (and for running after little one later on). It also improves your mental health, giving you a boost of 'happy' hormones and can help prevent you feeling sluggish and tired.

what exercise can i do during pregnancy?

Even if you were a gym bunny, it’s important to modify your exercise routine now you're pregnant. Tell your gym instructor so you can modify your workout to be low-impact. Your ligaments soften and joints loosen during this time, making it that bit easier to injure yourself.

Similarly, if you avoided exercise before bump came along, now isn’t the time to go full throttle. Start slowly and combine low-impact aerobic workouts with muscle strengthening. Ideal exercises during pregnancy include:

  • swimming
  • jogging/running
  • going for a brisk walk
  • yoga or pilates
  • taking an aquanatal class

work your pelvic floor

Pelvic floor strengthening is the one exercise all mums-to-be should do. These muscles support your womb and weaken due to pressure during pregnancy. This can make it hard to control your bladder – cue weeing a little bit when you laugh or cough.

Pelvic floor exercises will strengthen bladder control and help your body bounce back after birth. They’re super easy and you can do them anywhere (yep, even at your desk). Just clench your back passage and vagina as if you’re holding in a wee for five seconds. Repeat 10 times a day.

what exercises should i avoid?

If you're wondering is it safe to exercise during pregnancy, the answer is yes. However, there are some workouts you should avoid. Steer clear of activities where there is a risk of falling like horse riding. Contact sports are a bit too aggressive for your growing bump – sorry hockey lovers. You should also avoid scuba diving as your baby is at risk of decompression sickness.

know the warning signs

If you do start to feel uncomfortable while exercising, stop what you’re doing and contact your GP if symptoms continue. It’s easy to hurt yourself without noticing during this time. Avoid exercise if you have these symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • sickness
  • pain
  • contractions
  • short breath
  • weak muscles
  • extreme tiredness

complications during pregnancy

Most women find exercising in pregnancy helpful, but in some circumstances, you might be told by your doctor to avoid physical activity. If you’ve suffered miscarriages before or you’ve had complications with your baby, speak to your GP before beginning an exercise regime.