No human body is the same. And as any mother or midwife will tell you, no pregnancy is exactly the same either. This means if you’re thinking about exercising while pregnant with your baby, there are few concrete rules that apply to everyone (besides the obvious). But for those who are safe to get active, taking light to moderate exercise can work wonders for your body and mind, not to mention the little one incubating inside your womb.
First things first
The first thing to do then, before hitting the gym, is to consult with your doctor or midwife to see if he or she thinks it’s safe for you to exercise while pregnant. There may be some instances in which it is not. For example, if you have heart disease, lung disease, severe anemia or consistent second or third trimester bleeding it’s not safe to exercise.
But once you’ve been given the go-ahead, there are still some adjustments you should make to your regular exercise routine. First and foremost is to avoid dangerous or contact sports where there’s a reasonable chance of someone or something hitting your baby bump. This includes activities such as horse riding and, later in the pregnancy, cycling. Because falling off your bike or horse isn’t a risk worth taking. Also, anything with a flying ball such as football or rugby also ought to be avoided because of the chance of getting hit in the tummy with the ball or even somebody else’s body parts.
Once you’ve decided which sports and exercises to tackle, it’s time to enjoy the benefits of eating more than you could usually get away with. This isn’t just a treat for the pressures of pregnancy, either. Making sure you up your calorie intake is vital to make sure you replenish the energy used while exercising, which could well be more than when you weren’t carrying the extra weight.
To dress appropriately when pregnant means a few things. First, you’re most likely going to get hotter than usual, quicker than usual. But since you don’t want to start off cold either, it’s a good idea to layer your clothing. If you have some breathable materials that help to keep you cool, that’s even better, wear them. While pregnant it’s common for your feet to swell slightly, so if you feel your trainers are tighter than usual, don’t try squeezing into them and risk injury. Get yourself a new pair. And make sure your maternity bra is giving you enough protection.
As for any aches or pains you may have, you should take extra caution while pregnant. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion; so if you’re feeling dizzy, nauseous or your head or tummy is aching, stop immediately.
All this is good general advice, applicable for every stage of your pregnancy. For more specific advice about which exercises and positions to try – and which ones to avoid – in each trimester, check back later this week.