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Getting Fit During Pregnancy

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 1 Jun 2012 | comments*Discuss
Getting Get Fit Fitness Fitter Exercise

Doing some exercise during pregnancy can be good for you, helping keep your muscles supple and prepare your body for the act of giving birth.

If you’ve never exercised before, are out of shape and really unfit, then it’s advisable to speak to your doctor or midwife first, as sudden exertion that you’re not used to may have adverse effects. However, if you think your fitness could do with a helping hand, keeping active during pregnancy, as long as you pick the right types of activities and sports, should be okay (if you have any doubts, or existing medical conditions that could be affected by exercise, do speak to your doctor first).

Regular exercise has a host of benefits and, when you’re pregnant, it can help your body cope better with the demands of giving birth and give you a quicker chance of getting back to your pre-baby body. When you first start exercising, it’s important to start slowly and gradually build up what you do. It’s far better to opt for the little and often approach, rather than doing occasional big bouts of exercise, and it’s crucial to choose something you enjoy and that isn’t a chore. As a rough average, 30 minutes a day is ideal, or 15-20 minutes when you’re pregnant.

Starting Points

Good sorts of exercise to start with – and things that are safe to do during pregnancy – are walking, swimming, yoga, palates and stretching exercises. There are lots of classes out there for pregnant women and they can be really useful if you’re not sure how much exercise you should be doing or if you just fancy getting fit alongside other mums in the same position. Inevitably there are some forms of exercise that aren’t deemed safe for pregnancy. These include things like mountaineering, scuba diving, downhill skiing, diving, netball, hockey, trampolining and horse riding.

Although you may have good intentions, don’t be cross with yourself if you can’t always keep up with them during pregnancy. In the first trimester you may suffer from pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness, and fitness may be the last thing on your mind. Many women find the second trimester the best, as morning sickness has usually subsided and you may have more energy. But don’t expect to get too much done in the third trimester, especially nearing the end, as your bump will have grown bigger and it may will be more uncomfortable to exercise.

Pregnancy Fitness and Exercise Tips

Here are some tips to help you get fit and keep you well:
  • Choose a safe form of exercise that you know you’ll enjoy.
  • Start your fitness regime slowly then gradually build it up.
  • Try going to a class or exercising with a friend – it can help relieve boredom and keep you motivated.
  • Avoid exercising in hot or humid conditions.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water, both before, during and after doing an exercise – getting dehydrated won’t do you or your baby any good.
  • Don’t go mad! Don’t do too much exercise and avoid pushing yourself to extremes.
  • Avoid doing any high impact exercises, such as jumping or jogging.
  • If you feel faint, sick, very sweaty or exhausted, then slow down and stop exercising. Likewise, if you experience any abdominal pains, stop what you’re doing and see your doctor. It may be nothing, but it’s best to be on the safe side.
With heaps of benefits to be gained – increased energy and a better ability to cope with the demands of labour and birth – why not give some gentle exercise a go?

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