Exercising during pregnancy
Continuing to exercise during pregnancy is a great way to help reduce uncomfortable side effects like constipation, back ache and mood swings, as well as prepare your body for giving birth.
Sound in body and mind
As your body adjusts to pregnancy, it’s natural that you might not be able to continue the same exercise regime you had before becoming pregnant. But, with the right diet and by following some simple, yoga-inspired exercises at home, you’ll hopefully be able to maintain good digestion and a strong pelvic floor.
- Sit cross-legged on a yoga mat or a comfortable rug and sit up straight to align your spine.
- Turn your torso to the right and grab your right knee with your left hand - make sure that you keep a straight back and don’t bend your spine.
- Alternate sides by turning to the left and grabbing your left knee with your right hand.
- Repeat the exercise.
As your pregnancy advances, you might be more comfortable doing this exercise with your legs outstretched in front of you instead of sitting cross-legged.
- Sit on the floor and put your feet together.
- Embrace your ankles with both hands and pull your feet gently towards your body.
- With your next exhale, push your knees gently towards the ground to open the pelvis – keep your head and spine straight throughout.
- Breathe in and relax your knees again.
Regularly sitting down to complete this stretch will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and relax lower body tension.
Find new ways to keep fit
We know that it can be tricky to find exercises you actually want to do when your hormones change and your energy levels are low. But pregnancy is a great opportunity to try new exercises that might break you out of familiar routines and re-energise your system. Anything that exercises your large muscle groups and requires moderate cardio is ideal. Consider the following:
- Swimming – particularly in the last trimester
- Light jogging
- Yoga (speak to your trainer about which moves are best for pregnant womenv
- Light weight training
- Aerobics or aqua fitness classes for pregnant women
And, although it might sound like common sense, try to avoid any sports that put you and your baby at risk of injury and high impact forces.
Exercise and pregnancy: what to remember
- During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes your ligaments and muscles to stretch. While this prepares your body for giving birth, it also increases your risk of injury due to weight gain. Warm up well, take each exercise slowly and wear supportive training shoes.
- Keep exercising your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles throughout and after your pregnancy. And speak to your doctor or health specialist about courses that can help get your post-baby body back on track.
- Listen to your body. If your pulse is racing or you feel any pain at all, stop. It’s good to stay fit, but you want to do it the healthy way.
- Keep drinking. Good hydration is important throughout your pregnancy, and it’s even more important when exercising.
Although prevention is the best medicine, the causes of constipation can still occur throughout your pregnancy. You can help relieve your constipation with over-the-counter medications but should consult a doctor before using these products while pregnant or breast-feeding.