When you find out you are pregnant exercise is probably one of the last things on your mind – after money, work, relationships and shock in some cases! However, there are lots of reasons why you should exercise throughout your pregnancy and as a new mum and tons of benefits for you and baby (below).
Remember – You don’t have to be perfect, just happy and healthy
in your own skin.
Five exercise and health myths busted!
1: You can’t exercise when you are pregnant… FALSE
You absolutely can and should exercise when you are expecting. As long as you are sensible, have a straightforward pregnancy and adapt your activities to your changing body it is perfectly safe and has a wealth of benefits for you and your baby.
2: You have to stick to low impact activities… FALSE
You can run and jump around while you are pregnant, but the level of your workout does depend on your pre-pregnancy levels. Don’t start any new high-impact activities or marathon training! There is no one-size fits all prescription for exercise during pregnancy; every woman and every experience is unique.
3: Your body will never be the same again… TRUE
But not necessarily in a bad way! It is unlikely your body will ever look exactly the same as it did before you became pregnant, but it can actually look better! You have taken the first steps by visiting this site. The more you know about health and fitness the more confident you can be in laying good foundations for getting back into shape later.
4: You need to eat for two… FALSE
Most women know this is not the case, but do it anyway! The more sensibly you eat during pregnancy the less likely you are to be left with lots of excess weight when you have had your baby. You do need around 200 calories more in the third trimester and a bit more if you are exercising, but it should come from the healthy foods.
5: You shouldn’t do sit ups while you are pregnant… TRUE
You should not do sit up type exercises after trimester one of pregnancy as they put too much stress on your weakened surface abdominals, but it is very important to keep your deep, core stomach muscles strong and exercise them regularly to give yourself any chance of having a flat tum again when you are a mum.
Pregnancy is not an illness (for most people at least) and if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and childbirth there is no reason you cannot be active until the day you give birth and start again shortly afterwards.
Listen to your body every step of the way and remember to try and enjoy your exercise! x
Benefits of exercise in pregnancy
In the past many women have been unsure about whether or not it is safe to exercise during pregnancy and have found it hard to get clear advice from some GPs. It is now widely accepted that not only is exercise safe during pregnancy, it has a wealth of benefits and is the perfect time to make regular exercise part of your life!
Possible benefits include:
- A shorter labour, with less likelihood of complications – I had quite enjoyable pregnancies with no sick days from work, straightforward and short labours (both under 5 hours) vaginal deliveries and a very quick recovery, was active within a couple of days!
- Less likely to suffer from nausea and morning sickness
- Improved core strength and stability
- A stronger back and reduction in back pain
- Better posture
- Stronger pelvic floors
- Better circulation, less likely to suffer from varicose veins, swelling and high blood pressure
- Stronger bones
- Avoid excessive weight gain and easier to get back into shape after the birth
- More energy and self confidence – lift your mood and feel great!
- Strengthen the muscles used in childbirth
- It will help you sleep
- Improved cardio-vascular fitness and muscle tone
- Lessen the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes
With all of those benefits, why would you not exercise?! After pregnancy you will retain a lot of these benefits, in addition to finding it easier to lose excess weight and tone up. Not sure what to do? Check out my 3-Plan for a complete set of pregnancy and postnatal exercises.