Pregnancy exercises: Benefits, facts and stats
Did you know that exercise during pregnancy can reduce the likelihood of a planned caesarean, and aid your baby's neurological development?
In the past, mums have been encouraged to put their feet up and take it easy. Much to the frustration of healthy expectant women, pregnancy can often be treated as an illness – one that requires plenty of rest. Doctors and experts now agree that most exercise done in moderation during pregnancy is safe and beneficial. Whether you were active before pregnancy or haven’t exercised for a while, continuing or starting a pregnancy-safe exercise routine could be one of the best things you can do for both of you.
Before you start, please do consult your doctor or midwife to let them know which activities you plan to engage in. You can also read more about which exercises you should avoid during pregnancy.
“We’re now seeing evidence that exercising in pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for your baby’s future health. Pregnancy exercise can have a huge impact on your personal experience of pregnancy, too. Provided you follow the expert guidelines, it’s safe for most women to continue and even start exercising in pregnancy. Just make sure you check with your midwife or doctor first, in case there are any specific medical reasons why you should avoid being physically active in pregnancy.”
Any activity which develops and maintains physical fitness can be considered ‘exercise’, and can be beneficial if carried out during pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, and for this reason you don’t need to exercise to a level comparable with anyone else to feel the benefit; just doing as much as you can is enough.
There are a number of activities designed specifically for expectant mums, like pregnancy yoga. But if you love to run, swim or go to the gym, you should be able to continue your usual routine with a few modifications. Remember, some days you may feel more energetic than others, so always take things at your own pace.
1. Juhl et al. Is swimming during pregnancy a safe exercise? Epidemiology 2010;21(2):253-8.
2. Tommy’s. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) [Online]. Available at: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/symphysis-pubis-dysfunction-spd-or-pelvic-girdle-pain [Accessed: December 2016].
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