5 golden rules to follow when exercising while pregnant

28 Sep 2018

For fitness fanatics, pregnancy may feel as if your exercising days are over but they don’t have to be!  In fact, did you know that exercising regularly while pregnant won't just make you feel better, it can also help with the birth?  

Exercise is not just about the physical effects on the body, it holds plenty of mental benefits as well. These benefits will help prepare your body and mind for labour, which will not only make the birth easier but will help you become familiar with your body.

Keep going to the gym

If you have a regular fitness routine, you can and should keep up with it. Perhaps you’d want to try a class that’s specifically for pregnant women, such as pregnancy yoga or low-impact aerobics?

The benefits of exercise

Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers which are released when you exercise. They make you feel better and happier. Believe it or not, these endorphins are great for your baby as well. Movement improves your circulation, which in turn reduces swelling and causes your contractions to be more effective. If you are fit, labour can progress quicker which means you will be in pain for a shorter time period.

Avoid contact sports

Even though exercising while pregnant is highly beneficial, one still needs to be careful. There are some types of exercise that pregnant women shouldn’t do, such as contact sports and extreme sports because you cannot protect your baby if there is an accidental fall or injury.

Exercise such as walking, yoga, pilates, antenatal aqua-aerobics and swimming are perfect for you to do right up until your baby arrives.

Here are a few rules for exercising during pregnancy:

  1. Listen to your body and do not push yourself to a level of discomfort
  2. If you’re red in the face or too breathless to talk, you’re overexerting and overheating
  3. Do not compress the baby or your diaphragm. Avoid abdominal crunches and some forward stretches
  4. Proceed gently to avoid overstretching – the pregnancy hormone, relaxin, has relaxed all your connective tissue – you don’t want to overdo it
  5. Eat well and drink plenty of fluids.

If you are unsure about exercising during this exciting stage of your life, consult your doctor.