Exercising throughout pregnancy has been proven to raise a woman’s odds of staying fit, and slash her risk of heart trouble later in life, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The women who exercised through pregnancy had gained less weight and fat since, and were more fit with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with the women who stopped exercising when they got pregnant
Women who continued to break a sweat while pregnant had nearly 10% less body fat at the time of the follow-up study.
That’s good enough proven evidence for us active Aussie Mumma’s-to-be!
Many of the pregnant Mum’s I converse with on a daily basis shy away from working out while they’re expecting, but low-impact exercise at moderate intensity is a good idea if you’re in good health and don’t have any complications with your pregnancy. In addition to keeping mumma’s heart healthy, it can greatly reduce stress, pave the way to a faster delivery and post natal recovery all while promoting a better night’s sleep.
Plus, it’s easier to shed the pregnancy pounds after the baby arrives if you’ve been exercising.
However ladies, this isn’t the time to take up volleyball or boxing. A 2008 study found that intense physical activity, like playing ball or racquet sports, more than triples the odds of a miscarriage.
Also avoid scuba diving, jumping on trampolines, riding horses, and endurance training (especially at high altitudes).
Swimming, riding a stationary bike, walking, basic gym machines, cross-country skiing, and aerobics are good exercise strategies for pregnant women. If you’re just starting out, make sure you start early (at 8 to 10 weeks) to avoid shocking your body, beginning with at least five bouts of exercise a week for 20 minutes at a moderate intensity. If you want to go longer, increase time and intensity every 10 days.
Also, I demand that all pregnant women must stay within 50-75% of their maximum heart rate while exercising. Hence why I’m always attaching heart rate monitors while training my Mumma’s!
To do it yourself, that’s a heart rate per minute of 220 beats minus your age.
If I were 25 (who wants to prove I’m not!?) it would be 220-25(my age)= a max HR of 195, so 50-75% of that is 98-146 beats per minute.
An exercise heart rate monitor makes it easy to keep count.
What TO DO before taking up an exercise regime while pregnant:
1. As highly qualified & specialised as I am, I am not your doctor/OBGYN. Exercising is beneficial but don’t be your own doctor.
I insist all of my clients get a clearance from their medical practitioners before we start working out, consult them (they know your full history better than anyone!) and know which exercises you should be doing so that you don’t put yourself or the baby in trouble. There may be issues that you are not made aware of.
2. It’s the only time when you should eat without thinking about weight gain. Working out will burn all your calories.
Your focus should be on a balanced & nutritious diet so you don’t miss out the essential nourishment for you and the baby.
3. Wear something that is comfortable and loose. The right kind of shoes which provide support should be your first choice. Also make sure your maternity bra gives you sufficient support.
4. Water, water, water! Drink water in small quantities (a cup) before, during (every 15 minutes) and plenty after exercise so that you do not land into a state of dehydration.
Getting dehydrated causes contraction and lifts up body temperature which might prove to be dangerous for the baby.
5. After the session, cover your body and get the heart rate to normalise by doing some simple, non-strenuous stretches or taking a walk around. This helps bring the body back to its usual state of working.
6. Make it a habit – once you’ll start exercising regularly, you will feel fresh and strong internally. Plan your regime according to your stamina.
What NOT TO DO before taking up an exercise regime while pregnant:
1. Don’t be too sporty if you weren’t that way before baby. Stay away from sports that involve fast running or chances of getting unbalanced.
It’s good to go for immobile exercises rather than those that involve a lot of quick movements. No bootcamp ladies!
2. Don’t overdo it. Don’t try to work out too much, even if you feel comfortable doing it.
Don’t pressurize yourself as exercising during pregnancy is to keep you fit and not to reduce weight, that will all come with ease afterwards.
Look for signs indicating you to end; a little pain or feeling of uneasiness mean it’s time to stop.
3. No rushing! When you move from one position to another or get up from the floor after doing yoga, rise up gradually and maintain balance.
When your belly grows, the centre of gravity of your body shifts, hence, suddenly getting up can make you feel shaky and make you lose balance.