Pregnancy Fitness Tips, 2018

So much is said about exercising whilst pregnant that it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. Do I eat more than enough for two and put my feet up? Or, Do I carry on with a disciplined diet and an exercise routine to boot? Truth is, all you need to do is what you feel is right for you and your baby. But, if you are worried about the do’s and don’ts, fitness experts at Nuyoo have highlighted advice from the NHS that is guaranteed to ease your mind. So here are some simple pregnancy fitness tips, 2018.

Image credit: Tetiana Maslovska/Shutterstock

Exercise in Pregnancy

The more active and fit you are in pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.

It is recommended to keep up your daily routine, which may include sport, running, yoga, dancing or even walking around your local park, for as long as you feel comfortable. Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. In fact, there is evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems later in pregnancy and labour.

Pregnancy Fitness Rules

  1. Don’t Exhaust Yourself

It may seem obvious, but it’s possible you will need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your maternity team advises you to. If in doubt, always consult your maternity team. Generally, you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless, you may be over-exerting yourself.

  1. Start Slow and Steady

If you were never active before pregnancy, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you want to start, take it slow. Perhaps sign up to a local exercise programme (such as running, swimming, cycling, walking or an aerobics class.)

Inform the instructor that you are pregnant and begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times a week. Then, gradually increase to at least four 30-minute sessions a week. Always remember, exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Image credit: Tetiana Maslovska/Shutterstock

Pregnancy Fitness Top Tips

  • Try to keep active daily. Half an hour of walking is a good target, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing.
  • Always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather.
  • If you do attend an exercise class ensure your teacher is properly qualified, knows you are pregnant and how far along you are.
  • Swimming is a great exercise to try because the water will support your increased weight. Look out for local pools that provide aqua-natal classes with qualified instructors.
  • Exercises that have a risk of falling, such as horse riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling should be approached with caution. Falls may risk damage to the baby.

Image credit: Federico Marsicano/Shutterstock

Exercises to Avoid in Pregnancy

  • Don’t lie flat on your back for prolonged periods, particularly after 16 weeks, because the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel brining blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint.
  • Don’t take part in contact sports where there’s a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, judo or squash.
  • Don’t go scuba driving. In pregnancy, a baby has no protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism (gas bubbles in the bloodstream.)
  • Don’t exercise at heights over 2,500m above sea level – until you have acclimatised. This is because you and your baby are at risk of altitude sickness.

Image credit: Federico Marsicano/Shutterstock

3 Exercises for a Fitter Pregnancy

  1. Stomach-Strengthening Exercises

As baby grows, you may find that the hollow in your lower back increases – giving you backache. To help ease this, follow these steps:

  • Start in a box position (on all fours) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, with fingers facing forward and abdominals lifted to keep your back straight.
  • Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up toward the ceiling, curling the trunk and allowing your head to relax gently forward. Don’t let your elbows lock.
  • Hold this for a few seconds, then slowly return to the box position. Take care not to hollow your back: it should always return to a straight/neutral position.
  • Do this rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully. Only move your back as far as you can, comfortably.
  1. Pelvic Tilt Exercises
  • Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall, keep knees soft.
  • Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall: hold for four seconds and release.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.
  1. Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. You can strengthen the muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. This helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy.

  • Close your anus as if you’re trying to prevent a bowel movement. At the same time, draw in your vagina as if you’re gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine.
  • At first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately.
  • Then, do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10.
  • Attempt to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do a set at each meal.

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