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Pregnancy

What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?

By September 27, 2018 No Comments
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy? FIT Movement UK - Pregnancy classes fitness in Exeter

For details of the FIT Mama-to-Be Pregnancy Exercise classes in Exeter, click here.

Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits, not just to you, but to your unborn baby as well.  There’s definitely some truth in the saying fitter mums have fitter babies,” so I’m so pleased you’re giving your unborn baby the BEST start in life.  

With all the anatomical and physiological changes that occur in a pregnant woman’s body, what happens to you is quite dramatic. It really is a life-changing experience.   

There are several postural changes that can happen to your body. For example, your shoulders may start to round forwards, your hips may get tighter, your back develop more of an excessive lumbar curve (i.e. in the lower part back), and / or your gluteals (“bum” muscles) may weaken. A specifically-designed pregnancy exercise program can help counteract that and support you through your pregnancy and beyond.

So, what does exercising during pregnancy do?  Well, it can:  

  • Keep muscles strong and toned to help you with the physical demands of pregnancy, labour and then motherhood when the baby arrives. Trust me – you need this in your life!
  • Help maintain a strong heart and lungs to prepare you physically for labour 
  • Improve your circulation to stop you suffering from cramp, heartburn or indigestion 
  • Reduce pregnancy aches and pains e.g. a backache, sciatica, stiff shoulders etc.
  • Improve your general wellbeing and lift your mood 
  • Combat excessive weight gain if you’re doing the right types of exercise 3-5 times a week 
  • Help you maintain your fitness levels
  • Help you focus on your breathing during labour 
  • Ease constipation – exercise helps keep the bowels moving
  • Help fight insomnia – women who attend my pregnancy classes often report a good night’s sleep after class – even in the 3rd trimester!
  • Help you relax and de-stress after a long day – yes please!
  • Provide you with some invaluable “me” time 
  • Aid your postnatal recovery and can help you lose the baby weight after your baby is born
  • May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and Caesarean delivery
  • Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born [note] For further information, see NHS Guidelines on Exercise in Pregnancy, Royal College of Obstetricians and American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists [/note]

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. But, I hope it gives you some food for thought when it comes to getting you up and about and more active throughout your day. 

Current UK guidelines for exercising in pregnancy suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, as well as two sessions of muscle strengthening activity, each week. This is in line with exercise recommendations for the general population.

Physical activity in pregnancy is beneficial for most women with uncomplicated pregnancies. However, there are both relative (e.g. poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes) and absolute (e.g. severe anaemia) contraindications as to why it may not be suitable for a woman to exercise in pregnancy. So, please ensure that you speak to your medical health care provider before exercising. If you’re wishing to join an antenatal class or hire a personal trainer, your instructor should always ask you to complete a pre-screening questionnaire before you start to flag up any of these potential concerns and discuss these with you.

P.S. Would you like to join our friendly FIT Mamas-to-Be Pregnancy Exercise class and work out with a qualified and experienced antenatal instructor alongside other mums-to-be? Click here for details. One-to-one training is also provided.

AUTHOR: WENDY GOLDTHORP

Founder and Director of the FIT Movement, mum of one and always up for a new physical challenge, since 2014 Wendy has dedicated her practice to working with pregnant, postnatal and peri-to-post- menopausal women. The FIT Movement’s purpose is to help women get curious about their health and to learn how to look after their bodies through education, good movement and nutrition. Learn more about Wendy here.

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