As a personal trainer, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Can I exercise when I’m pregnant?” For most people, the answer is going to be a big fat yes! Training while pregnant is beneficial for both you and your baby. If you are a new to-be mum who was exercising regularly before pregnancy, then the general rule is that you can continue training when pregnant.
As your tummy grows, you will find that certain exercises will become more difficult and, as you approach the second and third trimester, it is recommended you reduce or swap out high-impact workouts such as running, jumping, and full range sit-up motions to those that are easier on your joints (think: swimming, walking, and bodyweight exercises). But overall, maintaining an exercise routine as part of your prenatal care is very beneficial. Here’s why:
- It can reduce your chances of getting gestational diabetes.
- It shortens your length of time in labour.
- It reduces your chances of requiring a C-section.
Other benefits also include:
- Strengthening your back, hips, and legs (for when your tummy expands and the baby grows), which can also ease labour
- Reducing constipation, bloating, and swelling
- Preventing excessive weight gain
- Increasing energy levels
- Reducing anxiety
- Aiding in faster healing and recovery post-birth
If you are new to being a mum and have never exercised before, you must start gradually. Walking 10 to 20 minutes three to five times a week is recommended. There are going to be some mums out there who willphysically not be able to exercise – and that is okay, too! We’ve got you covered. Do you know that breathing exercises can also give you enormous benefits? There are lots of guided meditation breathing exercises you can do; I highly recommend breathing guru Patrick McKeown at Oxygen Advantage.
Keep in mind that if you are unsure or know you have underlying issues, please seek the advice of your doctor before you start exercising during your pregnancy. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. If you aren’t feeling up to it, then rest. Listen to your body. Now it not the time to push your body beyond its limits. It’s a time to nourish yourself in the best way possible for both you and your baby.