Exercising during pregnancy has numerous health benefits. Keeping active can help one improve energy levels, recover better after childbirth, and have reduced occurrences of backaches, bloating and swelling. You may also decrease the risk of long-term obesity and gestational diabetes. As expectant mothers however, you need to be mindful of the exercise intensity and type, especially as you progress into later trimesters. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Avoid abdominal work.
Strong abdominal walls (at least in the conventional sense) are not needed during pregnancy. Your muscles need to be able to length sufficiently to allow your abdominal area to accommodate the growing baby. Otherwise, you may be at risk of developing an abdominal separation (i.e. diastasis recti).
- Set a limit to pelvic floor exercises
During childbirth, you will need to get a baby down and out of your body. This requires some degree of pelvic control, but it must not be overly tight. Seek a women’s health physiotherapist if you are unable to mobilise our pelvic muscles sufficiently or if you feel that you’re unable find it. Women who train very frequently tend to exhibit a tight pelvic floor, so its important to have things checked out if you fall into that camp.
- Work on your glutes
In pregnancy, your hormones may result in your pelvis being slightly off-kilter. Exercising and engaging your glutes can help to stabilise your pelvis while also adding a measure of prevention against lower back pain.
- Know your limits
Watch out for red flags when you are exercising. If you experience vaginal bleeding, dizziness, decreased foetal movement or chest pain, you may be heading into a dangerous territory. Adjusting your routine to suit your personal pregnancy needs is crucial. When in doubt, always listen to your body!
Staying healthy throughout your pregnancy is the first and most important step towards ensuring that both you and your baby are safe from start to finish. The first trimester is especially sensitive, so make sure to pay more attention to whatever signs and signals your body throws out. Nourish your body and get lots of rest pre and post-exercise. This way, both baby and mummy get to enjoy a smooth journey!