Exercising during Pregnancy

Exercising during Pregnancy

The other week Apta Club told me about the shocking statistic that more than a quarter of women feel that they can’t or shouldn’t exercise whilst being pregnant. This is of course completely untrue and is one of the reasons why they have launched their “Active for 2” campaign which encourages mums-to-be to stay active throughout their pregnancy.

 

As I’m currently 19 weeks pregnant, and have been inundated with questions on my @mummynutrition Instagram account about exercising during pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to check the campaign out and share some information with you about keeping active throughout this exciting time!

 

 

Aptaclub told me that the reason why expectant mums give up completely or drastically cut down on exercise is down to fears that it could harm their baby. Many mums to be said they were met with a disapproval comments when exercising, with many mentioning pressure being the main cause behind stopping keeping fit.

 

In addition to this, almost 60% of women surveyed said they simply didn’t feel well informed about how to improve prenatal health. Inspired by this, Aptaclub created “Active For 2”, a campaign designed to educate pregnant women about the benefits of exercise and show them how to stay active safely during their pregnancy.

 

Gone are the days when women are prescribed ‘bed rest’ for simply being pregnant as we now know that there are numerous benefits to staying active during pregnancy for both mum and baby:

 

Benefits of Staying Active for Mum:

  • Reduced incidence of lower back pain
  • A  30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduced likelihood of an unplanned caesarean
  • Lower incidence and reduced severity of depression
  • Less pregnancy weight gain
  • Lower risk of urinary incontinence
  • Reduce incidence of pregnancy constipation
  • Less pregnancy tiredness

 

Benefits of Staying Active for Baby:

  • A healthier heart
  • Normal birth weight
  • Quicker to develop neurologically

 

Wearing: Zakti Active

 

The body goes through a whole host of changes during pregnancy, some visible and some not so visible:

  1. An increase in blood vessel diameter, followed by an increase in blood volume
  2. Greater insulin resistance, leading to higher blood glucose levels
  3. Increased maternal fat storage and an increase in breast size
  4. Increased relaxin, causing looser joints
  5. Increased fatigue, particularly in trimesters 1 and 3
  6. Increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles

 

You should adapt your workouts in accordance with how far along in pregnancy you are. Across all 3 trimesters though you should include a gentle 10-15 minute warm-up and cool-down to avoid raising blood pressure or post-exercise hypotension (low blood pressure). Stretches should not be held for more than 8-10 seconds due to the dangers of over stretching ligaments.

 

 

Before you start becoming more active, you should be aware of the 4 main contraindications to exercising during pregnancy; if you have any of the following please consult with your GP or midwife beforehand:

  1. Significant physical injury
  2. An acute bout of illness or chronic underlying disease
  3. The onset of persistent or recurrent localised pain
  4. Abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding

 

  • Trimester 1 (0-12 Weeks) 

If you’re already active, carry on as usual and if you’re new to exercise then start gently and build up gradually. Walking is a great to start with. Avoid contact sports throughout pregnancy to prevent your bump being knocked and don’t exercise in hot conditions to prevent overheating (no more ‘hot yoga’!).

During my first trimester (March-May) I continued to follow my usual YouTube videos Monday to Friday however if I felt overly tired one morning I would simply skip my workout in favour of a walk after work, or I would swap a HIIT session for something less intense e.g. a lower body workout with dumbbells. Some abdominal moves also felt a little uncomfortable so I immediately stopped doing them and moved on to an alternate exercise.

 

  • Trimester 2 (13-27 Weeks)

Make sure that you can hold a conversation during exercise to ensure that you’re not over-exerting yourself. Don’t lie on your back for longer than a few minutes after you’re 16 weeks pregnant, and avoid stomach crunches and sit-ups to prevent your abdominal muscles from splitting. Include pelvic floor exercises daily.

During my second trimester things have pretty much returned to normal however I’m avoiding exercises on my back (this includes not doing sit-ups and crunches) and intense HIIT workouts (to save my pelvic floor!). I’ve lowered my weights (from 6Kg to 3Kg) and I’m keeping up my lunch time/evening walks; I aim to walk 10,000 steps a day on most days.

 

  • Trimester 3 (28-40 Weeks)

Gentle swimming, walking and dancing are great. In the gym cycling and rowing are gentle on your bump. Listen to your body; if it feels good, keep it up, if it is uncomfortable, stop! Remember to drink plenty of water too.

Update: I’m almost at the end of my third trimester now and in recent weeks have noticed my ligaments getting looser; as a result I’m walking less (I’ve taken off my fitness tracker actually!) and to relax I’ve taken up Pregnancy Yoga which I highly recommend!

 

For more specific advice regarding what to do during trimesters 1, 2 and 3, check out the Aptaclub website for information on walking and running, yoga, swimming and strength training.

 

Are you pregnant? If so, how are you staying active?

I really hope this blog post helps you!

 

 

Featured Image by Fields Photography London.

 

*I gained my Level 3 Award in Designing Pre and Post-Natal Exercise Programmes in 2017 with Premier Training International after gaining my Personal Training Level 2 and 3 Certificates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

My Newborn Essentials

Changing Mat – Ideal for Travel!
Changing Mat – Ideal for Travel!
Use the promo code NIPPER for 10% off!
Sanitising Water
Sanitising Water
Travel Size
Quinny Pram
Quinny Pram
Love this brand!
Socks On
Socks On
Because baby socks ALWAYS fall off!
Sleepsuits
Sleepsuits
An essential for day & night!
Baby on Board Sign
Baby on Board Sign
For your car!
Baby D Drops
Baby D Drops
Just 1 tiny drop daily is all you need. Needed from 0-6 months old if breastfed.
Baby Nail File
Baby Nail File
You pop them on your thumb!
Love to Dream Swaddle Up
Love to Dream Swaddle Up
For when my baby is too big for his Gro Snug!
Hana Baby Wrap
Hana Baby Wrap
For baby wearing!
Baby Car Mirror
Baby Car Mirror
Essential when driving alone.
Lamaze Firefly
Lamaze Firefly
Great for development!
Baby Bibs
Baby Bibs
Love the design!
Baby Thermometer
Baby Thermometer
From Braun
Teether
Teether
This one is so popular!
Personalised Bunny Comforter
Personalised Bunny Comforter
Such a gorgeous gift!
Soft Book
Soft Book
For the pram!
Lots of Links
Lots of Links
To attach to the toys!
Lumie Bedbug Night Light
Lumie Bedbug Night Light
We have this in our nursery.
Hair Brush
Hair Brush
The bristles are so soft!
Baby Coconut Oil
Baby Coconut Oil
I was bought this as a gift!
Black and White Book
Black and White Book
For your newborn!
Your Baby Week by Week
Your Baby Week by Week
For once your home!
Nipple Balm
Nipple Balm
Essential if you're breast feeding.
Manual Breast Pump
Manual Breast Pump
To have on hand to catch excess milk
Slow Flow Bottle
Slow Flow Bottle
To mimic breast feeding
Reusable Nursing Pads
Reusable Nursing Pads
More environmentally Friendly
Breast Pads
Breast Pads
For leaky nipples!
Pretty Muslins
Pretty Muslins
Love these from Storksak
Mother’s Cocoon
Mother’s Cocoon
For nursing your baby.
Nursing Pillow
Nursing Pillow
For you and baby.
Changing Bag
Changing Bag
Suitable for mum and dad!
Pramsuit
Pramsuit
Essential in colder weather!
Baby Carrier
Baby Carrier
I love this mini from Baby Bjorn
Car Seat
Car Seat
We have this fixed car seat - it's 0-12 years!
Pram or Car Seat Blanket
Pram or Car Seat Blanket
Love this one!
Water Wipes
Water Wipes
For nappy changes!
Aqua Wipes
Aqua Wipes
For nappy changes!
Hooded Towel
Hooded Towel
So cute for after a bath!
White Muslins
White Muslins
I love multipacks of these!
Swaddle Blankets
Swaddle Blankets
Love the panda print!
Baby Sponge
Baby Sponge
For bath time!
Soft Fleecy Blanket
Soft Fleecy Blanket
For tummy time!
Baby Bouncer
Baby Bouncer
This one vibrates too!
Angel Care Nappy Bin
Angel Care Nappy Bin
I have this in our nursery.
Nappy Sacks
Nappy Sacks
These are Eco Disposal
Nappy Cream
Nappy Cream
For sore bums!
Whale Scoop
Whale Scoop
To help wash your baby.
Bath Thermometer
Bath Thermometer
Aim for 37 degrees C.
Shnuggles Baby Bath
Shnuggles Baby Bath
Perfect for bath time!
Top & Tail Bowl
Top & Tail Bowl
For cotton wool & water washes.
Shnuggles Changing Mat
Shnuggles Changing Mat
Perfect for nappy changes!
GroEgg 2
GroEgg 2
This is bigger than the original!
Newborn GroBag/Swaddle
Newborn GroBag/Swaddle
Perfect for those early months to sleep in.
Shnuggles Moses Basket
Shnuggles Moses Basket
For 0-6 months
Flat Sheets
Flat Sheets
To go over your baby at night.
Cellular Blankets
Cellular Blankets
To go over a flat sheet at night or to be used alone in the pram.
GroEgg Original
GroEgg Original
To track room temperature (aim for 18-20 degrees!)
Shop Now
To stay up to date with Mummy Nutrition you can join the newsletter below!