UNDERSTANDABLY a lot of mothers-to-be get nervous about the idea of exercising during their pregnancy.
But when you think about it, nine months is a long time to avoid the gym… here’s everything you need to know about keeping your unborn baby safe while exercising.
Can I exercise during my pregnancy?
Yes, you can absolutely exercise throughout your pregnancy and the NHS websiteeven advises expectant mothers to stay active.
Not only does regular exercise help your body get back in shape after your baby is born, it also helps you cope with the physical stresses of labour.
There is even evidence pointing to more active mothers-to-be experiencing less problems later on during their pregnancy and in the weeks leading up to labour.
The NHS recommends keeping up your normal form of exercise (whether that is running, yoga, or swimming) for as long as it feels comfortable and manageable.
What types of exercise are safe?
It’s really important to note that if you weren’t particularly active before you became pregnant, now is not the time to start hitting the gym and doing lots of cardio.
But if you cast your mind back to the first Sex and the City movie, you’ll already know that long-term runners are still encouraged to keep with their routine.
Even tennis ace Serena Williams and cycling champ Laura Kenny kept training during their pregnancies.
However as a general rule of thumb, pregnant women should still be able to hold a conversation while exercising to prevent them from overdoing it.
While most exercise is still safe as long as it’s not too strenuous, swimming and yoga remain popular among expectant mums as they are low-impact workouts that don’t put pressure on joints or an unborn baby.
What types of exercise are unsafe?
Obviously, there are also going to be some types of exercise that are completely sworn off while your body does its thing.
Contact sports such as kickboxing or judo are not the best idea as there’s an increased chance of being hit which is never good for the baby.
Doctors also do not advise pregnant women lying flat on their backs for prolonged periods of time as the baby bump presses against your main blood vessel and can make you feel faint.
Might be worth giving Shavasana (the bit where everyone falls asleep at the end of a yoga class) a miss then…
Although scuba diving isn’t an everyday sport for most of us, pregnant women are strictly banned from diving this far underwater as their baby has no protection from decompression sickness while there is also a risk of gas bubbles entering the bloodstream.
Equally, pregnant women also cannot exercise at over 2,500m above sea level as this puts the baby at risk of altitude sickness.