5 Tips for Exercise in Pregnancy

Elaine Flannery – Women's Health Physiotherapist

 

Elaine initially trained as a Midwife and went on to follow her passion to become a Chartered Physiotherapist. She has an interest in all areas of women’s health and wellbeing and she is delighted to join the TC Physiotherapy team.

 

 

5 Tips for Exercise in Pregnancy

 

There are many benefits of exercise in pregnancy. These include boosting endorphins (making us feel good), improving cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness, reduction/management of back pain, reduced stress, prevention of excess weight gain, prevention and management of gestational diabetes, improvement in mild to moderate high blood pressure anda reduction in the risk of pre-eclampsia.  

 

It is recommended that if you have no medical or pregnancy complications, you should exercise for 30 minutes or more at a moderate intensity most days of the week. Examples of exercises that are beneficial in pregnancy include walking, swimming and pregnancy Pilates. Remember that it’s important to choose an exercise that you enjoy!

Below are five tips to help you on your way.

1. Choose an exercise that is of moderate aerobic intensity. Moderate intensity means that you are still able to talk while exercising, for example a brisk walk. Another good form of exercise, which many pregnant women find enjoyable and manageable, is aqua aerobics. This is because you are supported in the water, which takes the strain off joints and muscles.

2. Remember to drink water and have a light snack with you. Always bring a one-litre bottle of water with you that you can be sipping during exercise. It is important to stay hydrated at all times during your pregnancy.

3. It is important to wear supportive runners, a comfortable supportive bra and a suitable amount of layers to avoid getting too hot while you are exercising. For advice on the best footwear to buy - check out the TC Physiotherapy blog for recommended shoe list.

4. Remember to always start with a gentle warm up and finish with a 5-minute cool down. For example if you are out walking begin with a gentle warm up of 5-10 minutes walking slowly and then gradually increasing your pace to a brisk walk. With the cool down gradually reduce your brisk walk to a slow pace to allow yourself to cool down. If you are exercising in the pool begin with a 5-10 minute warm up of gentle paddling and spend the last 5-10 minutes of your pool session with gentle paddling to cool down.

5. It is important to remember that if you were very active and fit prior to your pregnancy that you can continue to exercise as long as you are safe and do not overdo it. If you feel you weren’t very active before your pregnancy and want to start some gentle exercise, it is important that you pace yourself and gradually build up your amount of exercise so that you can allow your body to get used to being more active.

Avoid contact sports/risk of falling, scuba diving and exercise at high altitude.

If you are unsure about exercising while you are pregnant it is advised that you consult with your GP/Midwife.

 

Tommy ConwayComment