Exercising During Pregnancy

There are numerous health benefits for women who exercise during pregnancy, including better weight control and improved mood and maintenance of fitness levels. Exercise also helps relieve stress, so you can feel good about doing something for yourself and the baby!

During your pregnancy, you will need to make a few changes to your normal exercise routine. Discuss your exercise plans with your doctor early on. Before you continue your old exercise routine or begin a new one, you should talk to your doctor about exercising while you’re pregnant. They can give you advice specific to your body and situation.

Your body will undergo many changes during pregnancy, some of which will require you to modify your exercise routine. The amount of exercise you do when pregnant will depend on your level of fitness pre-pregnancy. Be sensible about the level of exercise you do, if you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. A reasonable goal should be to maintain a good fitness level throughout pregnancy without trying to reach peak fitness.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy offers many physical and emotional benefits. Some of the benefits of regular exercise throughout your pregnancy include:

  • enjoyment
  • increased energy
  • improved fitness
  • reduced back and pelvic pain
  • decreased risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • preparation for the physical demands of labour
  • fewer complications in delivery
  • faster recuperation after labour
  • prevention and management of urinary incontinence
  • improved posture
  • improved circulation
  • weight control
  • stress relief
  • reduced risk of anxiety and depression
  • improved sleep and management of insomnia
  • increased ability to cope with the physical demands of motherhood.

Exercise Tips When You’re Pregnant

It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous for it to be beneficial. With that in mind, here are some exercise tips when you’re pregnant:

  • Always warm-up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
  • Try to keep active on a daily basis; 30 minutes of walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing.
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot or humid weather.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • If you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher/instructor is properly qualified and knows that you’re pregnant and how many weeks pregnant you are.
  • You might like to try swimming because the water will support your increased weight. Some local swimming pools provide aqua-natal classes with qualified instructors.

Read through the pre-exercise self-screening tool before taking up a new exercise routine or program.

If you have been cleared to exercise, and you participated in physical activity before you were pregnant, it is recommended that you:

  • Do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good exercise intensity when you can talk normally (but cannot sing) and do not become exhausted too quickly.
  • If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, continue this level of activity throughout pregnancy, or until it becomes uncomfortable for you to do so.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

If you have been cleared to exercise, but you were inactive before your pregnancy:

  • Start with low-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming, and build up to moderate-intensity activity.
  • Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can start with separate sessions of 15 minutes each, and build up to longer durations.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good exercise intensity when you can talk normally (but cannot sing) and do not become exhausted too quickly.
  • If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, continue this level of activity throughout pregnancy, or until it becomes uncomfortable for you to do so.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

Types of exercise to do during pregnancy include aerobic conditioning and strength training of all the major muscle groups and your pelvic floor.

Aerobic exercise can include:

  • walking
  • jogging
  • swimming
  • cycling (on a stationary bike)
  • low-impact aerobic exercise classes.
  • exercise in water (aquarobics)
  • yoga or Pilates – tell your instructor that you are pregnant before the class
  • pregnancy exercise classes.

When to Stop Exercising When Pregnant

If you experience any of the following while exercising during your pregnancy, you should stop, and inform your doctor:

  • abdominal pain
  • any ‘gush’ of fluid from the vagina
  • calf pain or swelling
  • chest pain
  • decreased foetal movement
  • dizziness or presyncope (light-headedness, muscular weakness and blurred vision)
  • shortness of breath before exertion
  • excessive fatigue
  • headache
  • pelvic pain
  • excessive shortness of breath
  • painful uterine contractions
  • vaginal bleeding.

Where to Get Help & Advice on Exercising When Pregnant

It’s important to listen to your body. If you’re not up to exercising on a particular day, don’t push yourself. Your health and the health of your baby is the most important thing, and sometimes that might mean resting rather than exercising. Pregnancy means significant changes to your body, fatigue and exhaustion might become more common while pregnant, so it’s important to do what you can, and not to increase the intensity of your exercise. Talk to your doctor for personalised advice on exercising during pregnancy.

 

References:

Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. (2019). Pregnancy and exercise. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-exercise [Accessed 22 Jul. 2019].

 

Kidshealth.org. (2019). Exercising During Pregnancy (for Parents) – KidsHealth. [online] Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercising-pregnancy.html [Accessed 22 Jul. 2019].

 

Physical Activity Australia. (2019). Pregnancy and exercise – Physical Activity Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.physicalactivityaustralia.org.au/pregnancy-and-exercise/ [Accessed 22 Jul. 2019].

 

Pregnancybirthbaby.org.au. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/exercising-during-pregnancy [Accessed 22 Jul. 2019].

Share this

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Opening Hours

Mon.   11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tue.    11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wed.   11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thu.    11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Fri.       8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sat.      8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

© All rights reserved: Transcend Health.

Made with by Jezweb​​