Exercising during pregnancy is highly recommended as it benefits both the body and mind, helping keep you happy and healthy throughout your pregnancy.
But it’s important to remember that things are different now and there are some factors to consider before embarking on an exercise program.
- Exercise is for weight management not weight-loss! Yep! While pregnant you are going to put on weight. This can be difficult to accept for many women. Whilst it’s important to keep active and eat a great whole foods diet wherever possible, it is dangerous to you and your baby to diet and/or restrict eating and to exercise excessively when pregnant. Chat to a trained professional for support. Some of my clients have told me that they have felt the healthiest they have ever been during their pregnancy as they ensure that they eat really well and exercise accordingly.
- Listen to your body! This is absolutely crucial when exercising while pregnant. Don’t push it, especially if it’s really hot or humid or if you are feeling sick. It’s best to exercise in cooler conditions and wear clothing that will help you to dispel any heat quickly. Drink plenty of fluid (water or coconut water) and keep snacks (bananas or goji berries and nuts) with you as a sudden drop in your blood sugar levels can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea.
- Take lots of breaks and keep your fluids up. When your heart rate starts to rise over 150 bpm, stop rest and let it come down again before you begin again. All cardiovascular activities should be kept to around 15 minutes per burst ensuring adequate rest between sets.
- How many sessions a week? This is really your call, but experts recommend maximum 3-4 times a week. Again, listen to your body and work at your own pace. If your trainer is going too quickly for you, ask them to relax the pace and if a group fitness class is too fast, let the instructor know that you will go at your own pace.
- Warming up and cooling down are super important. This might include a warm up on the treadmill or a light jog with some safe stretching and cooling with a walk and assisted stretching. But remember that stretching needs to be done for relaxation of the muscle and to release tension, not to create flexibility.
- Snack right before you exercise. Ideally, one hour prior to exercise eat a complex carbohydrate snack like a banana to maintain blood sugar levels and again keep hydrated always.
- Stop immediately if you notice any bleeding, feel faint or dizzy, experience lower abdominal pain or cramping, unusual shortness of breath, sudden swelling of hands, feet or ankles if there are noticeable changes in baby’s movement and or heart palpations and consult your doctor straight away.