It’s important to exercise safely during pregnancy
I have just found out that I am pregnant. I used to do a lot of running; however, I have not done any recently – just a bit of walking. I have been told that it is a good idea to keep fit during pregnancy to reduce the discomforts of pregnancy and labour. Also, I don’t want to put on loads of weight. I have heard swimming and yoga are good for you during pregnancy. Can you advise me on a good exercise programme to follow for the next 9 months?
A ‘pregnant lapsed exerciser’.
Dear pregnant lapsed exerciser
Firstly, you should check with your GP that there are no medical reasons why you shouldn’t exercise at this time. You are quite right; keeping active during pregnancy can provide numerous benefits. However, if you have not run for some time this would not be the time to start again. Walking & swimming would be ideal ways to improve and maintain your fitness. Remember to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Avoid over heating as it is important that your core temperature does not increase. Warm ups and cool downs should be carried out – gentle stretching is an ideal way to complete a session. Avoid exercises which may cause you to lose your balance – walk on flat, even ground. Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing with a good supportive bra. Stop exercising if you have any of the following: vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking, contractions, light-headed or feeling faint, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea. It is important to be able to hold a conversation whilst you exercise to ensure the intensity is appropriate. Your metabolism will increase during pregnancy – ensure you follow a healthy diet.
Two or three sessions of walking or swimming each week for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity would be a good goal to achieve.
Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy.
Next week we will look at returning to fitness following the birth of baby.