How exercise can help.
It can help reduce minor related ailments such as varicose veins, constipation and stiffness. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal wall muscles regularly will help them to regain strength and tone more quickly after delivery.
- Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester. This position is associated with decreased cardiac input in most pregnant women and reduces blood flow to your baby. As a consequence standard abdominal curls need to be adjusted to maintain abdominal strength as the fetus continues to grow.
- Modify your exercise intensity so that you always work within your comfort zone. Remember that you should always be able to hold a conversation as you are exercising. Stop if you feel tired, dizzy or nauseous.
- Avoid raising body temperature excessively, particularly in the first trimester.
- Isometric exercises (where the muscles are held in one position whilst contracting) should be avoided, as these may increase blood pressure. Abdominal and pelvic floor exercises are the exceptions.
- Do not be afraid to eat more if you have cravings to do so. Pregnancy requires more calories for a balanced metabolic activity to be maintained. So pay particular attention to your diet.
- Regardless if you are pregnant or not It is important that you eat in a way that supports you. If you can do that, if you become pregnant you will be supporting your unborn child. After all, you may not realise that you are pregnant until after you have missed your period; by this time your baby’s internal organs and limbs have started to develop.
An ideal diet would consist of red meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit with nuts. Keep the likes of refined white sugar and starches to a minimum.
- Get plenty of sunshine for your vitamin D – men also need plenty of this sunshine vitamin to improve the number and activity of their sperm. By teaching yourself good eating habits you will be doing the same for your child especially in their first few years.
- If you start with yourself you will be laying the foundation for a healthy life for your loved ones.
- Stay well hydrated and exercise in an environment that is well ventilated.
Check with your GP or midwife before exercising. Even though there is no close link between exercise and miscarriage, people with a history of miscarriage should seek medical advice before exercising.
Women who are already regular exercisers when they become pregnant are advised not to try to improve their fitness during pregnancy.
Instead modify your exercise so you can enjoy your fitness and improve areas of your body that require special attention during this time of change.
A few tips:
- Wear a supportive bra.
- Sip water throughout your exercise session to avoid overheating, and avoid exercising on an empty stomach.
- Form is the cardinal rule – If you aren’t sure about what you are doing please speak to an instructor first.