Staying active is essential during pregnancy but many pregnant mums are cautious about overdoing it. With this in mind, HARTMANN Direct take a look at what exercises and activities can suit during the three trimesters of pregnancy.
The importance of staying active
Staying active means staying fit and toned, something that you will rely on during labour and the birth itself.
But there are other reasons to exercise. Staying active helps to keep the pelvic floor muscle toned, the muscle we need to retain control of the bladder and bowel but is commonly stretched during pregnancy and birth.
And then there is the dark cloud of depression, something that can hand over pregnant women and new parents for weeks or even months.
But there is a balance needed. On one hand, you need to stay active and that can feel like a monumental effort on some days! And then, there is the importance of taking plenty of rest.
The First Trimester – Slow and Steady
The first trimester lasts from conception to week 12. It is the time your body will go through incredible changes.
With surging pregnancy hormones playing an important part in ensuring the fertilised egg reaches its proper destination, you can feel sick, lethargic and under the weather.
Or you may feel on top of the world!
Even if you are no feeling uncomfortable, slow and steady is the mantra when it comes to exercising in the first few months of pregnancy.
If you already visit the gym work out, run, cycle, swim and so on, most pregnant women are OK to continue but always seek the advice of your doctor.
As well as being more aware of your body changing – and your emotional needs too – exercise experts suggest being aware of fluid intake and your core body temperature too.
As well as working out, why not take up pregnancy yoga or Pilates to help stretch and tone key muscle groups.
- Stay hydrated
- Don’t overdo it
- Don’t allow yourself to get too hot when working out
The Second Trimester – Stay Active
The second trimester runs from week 12 to 27. Most pregnant women find this is the time they ‘bloom’ in pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones have peaked and settled down, nausea has passed and apart from the occasional restless night and bit of heartburn, most pregnant women find this a pleasant time.
With energy levels restored, it can be tempting to exercise more and harder but this can result in discomfort for you and baby.
Exercise experts suggest;
- Brisk walking
- Lifting lighter weight to tone key areas
- Pregnancy yoga
By this time, more pregnant women find high-impact or contact sports uncomfortable.
But staying active doesn’t mean bouncing around a Zumba class or keeping up in a spinning class. It’s important to find a mode of exercise that you enjoy but you also find comfortable as your bump begins to grow.
- Your growing bump will affect your balance – take care!
- Vary your walking pace to keep your energy levels tip-top
- Rest just as much as you exercise
The Third Trimester – Regular Activity
The final trimester stretches until your baby arrives and although there are times when you feel more uncomfortable and lethargic than you did previously, staying active is beneficial to you and your growing baby.
Reducing backache, constipation, bloating and swelling, staying active has many benefits. It can also help you sleep better!
But it also helps you prepare your body for labour. Exercise brings with it stamina, something that you will fall back on in the hours before you give birth.
Being toned and strong also helps you to recover well after birth, no matter how you choose to deliver your baby.
There is a key difference in exercising in this final trimester – the ability to listen to your body. Feeling faint when exercising, vaginal bleeding, headache, shortness of breath and swelling in the lower legs are signs you need to speak with your midwife and change the frequency and impact of your activity.
- Stay active but listen to your body
- Walking is great but slow down
- Swimming is a welcome weightless release – but take care as your balance will change with a bigger bump
- Don’t forget to kick back, relax and enjoy these final weeks of pregnancy
Labour and birth are both physically an emotionally challenging. Just as you would train to run a marathon, why wouldn’t you stay active and healthy to train for pregnancy?
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