Once upon a time, pregnant women were told to rest. It was believed that physical activity could be harmful to the mother and unborn baby.
We now know this to be untrue, in fact we now recommend the opposite! We know that regular exercise and physical activity is not only safe, it can provide an array of health benefits. There is strong evidence to show that regular exercise can help with a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Exercise may help to:
- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes
- Minimise the risk of preeclampsia and elevated blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of complicated birth and labour
- Promote healthy weight gain
It is recommended that pregnant women aim for the following:
- Exercise most, if not each day – aiming to accumulate 150 – 300 minutes per week
- Complete low impact exercises such as walking, swimming, strength exercises.
- Complete both strength and aerobic exercise sessions each week.
Some considerations before you get started:
If you are new to exercise, it is recommended you get cleared by your GP or Obstetrician before you start. If you were regularly exercising before falling pregnant, a clearance is still recommended but there may be slightly different guidelines. Either way, exercising under the guidance of an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist is a great way to ensure you are safe and receiving the appropriate care.
Some things to consider include:
- Avoid exercising flat on your back after 16 weeks, this can be harmful to the developing baby
- Avoid double leg lowering movements or isolated abdominal movements due to abdominal separation during pregnancy
- Consider a pelvic floor assessment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (we know a few goodies if you need a referral!).
- Be mindful that your balance and joints are changing, be cautious of falls!
- Tune in to your energy levels throughout your session, do you notice your blood sugar levels changing?
So while there are many things to consider, the benefits of exercise are huge and shouldn’t stop you from getting moving! In most cases, it is safe and beneficial to exercise, especially once a clearance has been provided.
Need help getting started? Contact our team of Exercise Professionals today!