Pregnancy can result in many changes in the body that could impact a person’s ability to engage in physical activities. The most significant change is increased weight gain and flexibility in the lower back and pelvic area specifically. These changes could increase the forces across the joints and damage muscles if over stretched during exercise.
Nourishing and strengthening your body with the correct food and exercise prior to and during pregnancy might prevent potential damage to the body.
In some cases, the right food and exercise can increase fertility as your body becomes healthy and balanced. This balance is important as it provides a positive space in your body in which to conceive and have your baby grow.
If you are thinking of having a baby, are pregnant or have not long given birth and would like to know more on fitness, nutrition, classes (e.g. Yoga, Pilates) and workshops for post and pre natal mothers or mothers to be. Please contact [email protected] with – Post and Pre Natal – in the subject box and Susan will happily answer all your queries.
Did You Know…
Exercise during pregnancy helps to alleviate many of the common problems of pregnancy. It improves circulation (which helps prevent constipation, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles). It also prevents back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.
Pregnancy often leaves women feeling less energetic, but regular exercise can give you more energy to make it through the day. Your strengthened cardiovascular system will give you more endurance, and stronger muscles will allow you to accomplish tasks with less effort, leaving you more energy to continue through the rest of your day. Some women enjoy prenatal yoga.
Exercise also allows you to sleep better. Most women have some trouble sleeping through the night by the end of their pregnancies. Exercising on a regular basis (and making sure it’s at least three hours before you go to bed) will help you work off excess energy and will tire you enough to lull you into a deeper, more restful slumber.
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood. Also lessen mood swings, improve your self-image, and allow you to feel a sense of control.
Exercise helps prepare you for childbirth. Some studies suggest that the fitness level of the mother can result in a shorter labour, fewer medical interventions, and less exhaustion during labour. Being in shape will not decrease the pain, but it definitely will help give you the endurance needed to get through labour.
Most experts agree that gaining more than the recommended 25 to 35 pounds (for a woman of normal weight) during pregnancy makes it harder to lose the weight after the baby is born. By maintaining your fitness level during pregnancy, you are less likely to gain excess weight. Exercise also maintains your muscle tone and strength.
Problems to Watch Out For!!
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program. For most pregnant women, exercise is very beneficial, but for women who have a high-risk pregnancy or are at risk for pre-term labour, exercise should be closely monitored by your health care provider to make sure that exercise poses no additional threats to you or your baby.
When you exercise, the blood flow shifts away from your internal organs (including your uterus) to give your muscles, lungs and heart more oxygen. If you exercise too strenuously, you can restrict oxygen from your uterus. Make sure to stick within a recommended heart rate level to ensure that your baby is getting the oxygen he or she needs.
As your pregnancy progresses, your centre of balance shifts, making falls more likely. Participate in activities such as swimming, walking, Yoga, Pilates or low-impact aerobics that do not put you at additional risk to slip or fall. Avoid such activities as skiing, horse riding, mountain climbing, and sports that could put you at risk for an injury or a fall.
Exercise causes an increase in your body temperature, which can affect the baby’s development. Use caution when exercising in hot weather and always make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids when exercising.