Pregnancy Exercise. What you really should be doing during pregnancy and why?
You’ve heard it before right?
Exercise is good for you and your baby during pregnancy.
But sadly still only 15% of pregnant women meet the exercise guidelines.
Pregnancy is a time bound opportunity! You have this one opportunity to reap substantial health benefits for your future self and your baby.
Assuming most women find out they’re pregnant as soon as they miss a period, that’s means you have 35 (ish) weeks to make this impact.
You religiously take pregnancy vitamins, your folic acid, attend midwife appointments and scans without fail, but are you hitting those important physical activity markers?
It’s never too late to start!
The benefits of the right amount of exercise during pregnancy includes:
Reducing pregnancy related weight gain,
Reducing gestational diabetes risk by 38%,
Reducing pre-eclampsia risk by 41%,
Reducing gestational high blood pressure by 39%,
Reducing prenatal depression by 67%,
Reducing risk of a large baby by 39% (thus reducing the risk of an instrumental delivery, unplanned c-section, pre-term birth, and perineal tearing).
There is often much fear placed around exercise during pregnancy especially during the first trimester, but exercise during this time does NOT increase the odds of miscarriage, nor is it related to any foetal abnormalities (Davenport et al. 2018).
In fact, many studies identify that NOT exercising increases the risks of complications for you and your baby.
Many women are concerned about what they can or can’t do during pregnancy. Maybe it’s just best to stick to some gentle antenatal Yoga or some hypnobirthing?
Yes, these are great antenatal activities, but alone, they are not going to help you hit the required recommendations for physical activity to help achieve optimal health and wellbeing for you and your baby.
What’s the recommended amount of activity during pregnancy, and what type of activity should you be doing?
Pregnant women (including those previously inactive, those diagnosed with gestational diabetes and who have a BMI of over 25kg/m2) should accumulate......
150 minutes of exercise each week consisting of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching/mobility.
That’s five, 30 minute bouts of activity, or two-three, 60 minute sessions per week.
Due to the various changes happening to your body during pregnancy, including the impact of hormones on joints, respiration, heart rate and blood volume; and biomechanical changes to your centre of gravity, alignment and integrity of your abdominal strength, it is important that the exercise you do is specific to pregnancy and each trimester.
But ultimately, yes, it’s strongly advised to get out of breath and lift weights to support a healthy Mum and baby. Even in your first trimester and yes, you can start to exercise now even if you’re in your third trimester!
Like I said before, this is a time limited opportunity. I really do encourage you to act now, put some steps in place to increase your activity and the range of activities you do each week beyond a weekly antenatal yoga class.
So my question is.....