Exercise during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy can have many benefits for the mother and baby, but it can be hard to work out exactly what you can and can’t do. This blog will discuss why exercise during pregnancy is important, what levels are recommended, and what you can do to get started.

Why should I exercise during pregnancy?

We’re beginning to understand the benefits of prenatal exercise more and more in the research. Here are some of the known physical, mental and social benefits:

  • Increased energy
  • Weight control
  • Stress relief
  • Reduced severity of lower back and pelvic girdle pain
  • Decreased chance of premature labour
  • Lower risk of gestational diabetes
  • Social interaction
  • Enjoyment

How much should I exercise?

The type and amount of exercise you do largely depends on your fitness level and previous exercise levels before getting pregnant. Although exercise is recommended for all fitness levels, sudden attempts to “get fit” are not recommended. Avoid starting a new exercise routine without clearance from a medical professional.

As a general guide, the Australian Department of Health recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activities or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activities per week. That equates to 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity or 15-30 minutes of vigorous intensity activities most days of the week. 2 days of muscles strengthening activities such as weight training are also recommended during the week.

Note: Moderate intensity means that you should be able to carry a conversation during the activity. Vigorous means that talking becomes difficult.

If you weren’t too active prior to becoming pregnant, these exercises can be broken up into 10 to 15 minutes intervals, slowly building up from low to moderate intensity.

What type of exercise should I do?

Pelvic floor exercises are recommended to commence as soon as possible, and they can be recommenced straight after giving birth. These can be prescribed by your physiotherapist or a relevant healthcare professional.

Additionally, here is a list of great, low impact activities that are generally safe to do when pregnant:

  • Brisk walking
  • Elliptical
  • Stationary cycling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Light resistance training and pelvic floor training

Here are some extra things to be mindful of when choosing the type of exercise:

  • Low impact is recommended especially in the third trimester
  • Avoid exercise lying flat on your back at after 28 weeks (or earlier if you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness or breath or discomfort in this position)
  • Avoid exercises in high heat or humidity, and stay hydrated
  • Avoid any impact sports that require heavy lifting
  • Avoid exercises that have a high risk of falls or collision
  • Avoid significant changes in pressure (e.g. scuba diving)

Remember to listen to your body and to stop if anything causes you discomfort or pain. Be mindful of modifications you may need to make as your pregnancy progresses and your body shape, weight and hormones change.

How can I get started?

In conclusion, it’s always advised to discuss exercise with a trusted healthcare professional before commencing regular exercise, especially if you’re new to exercise. At Energize Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates Studio, our physiotherapists can assess and guide you through appropriates exercises to do during your pregnancy. We also offer Clinical Pilates, which is a fantastic, low-impact way to exercise during pregnancy. If you’d like to know more, give us a call on 9569 5799 or email us at info@energizestudio.com.au.

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