You don't have to give up on fitness during this period of self-isolation. The more active you are during the next few months the easier you will find it to adapt to your changing body shape. Plus keeping fit during pregnancy can help you in labour and get you back into shape after your baby is born.
In fact, there’s a long list of benefits to keeping fit in pregnancy. Here’s our top five:
- Improve your mood, help you sleep better and make you feel less anxious
- Help keep pregnancy niggles, like pelvic girdle pain, backache and constipation, at bay
- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, blood pressure, leg and feet swelling and pre-eclampsia
- Maintain your body weight
- Encourage blood flow and strength in your baby
What's the best exercise in pregnancy?
The best type of exercise during pregnancy should be one that gets your heart pumping, prepares your muscles for labour, keeps you supple, allows you to burn off a few of those calories and very importantly is fun!
However, it’s important not to overdo exercising. You should be able to hold a conversation whilst you’re working out. For those who are just starting on a fitness routine it’s best to begin gently, with 10 minutes of continuous exercise a day. Once you feel your fitness has improved you can increase this time to about 30 minutes. It’s important that you don’t exhaust yourself however fit you are, so even at the peak of fitness 90 minutes should be your max. Remember that exercise does not have to be too strenuous to be beneficial. Even counting your steps is a good way to start!
Talk to your doctor, midwife or a physiotherapist on the phone before starting any exercise that's new to you or if you have an existing medical condition such as anaemia, bone and joint problems or heart or lung disease. It’s worth checking out the full list of conditions that require you to seek medical advice before starting on an exercise programme.
Being stuck at home may mean your usual exercise routine will be off limits now. But don’t worry, we’ve got the perfect solution to keep you fit during pregnancy. Our very own fitness expert Natasha Brown has made a series of videos specifically to help mums-to-be keep fit in pregnancy. You’ll find our exercise blog is packed with top-tips on keeping fit as well as a series of exercise routines for you to follow throughout the coming months.
Exercises for each trimester
It’s important to understand how your body changes and which exercises are best for you as your pregnancy progresses. We’ve given a brief overview of what to expect below and as all of Natasha’s videos are tailored to a specific trimester, you’ll find them easy on your changing body.
Exercise in trimester 1
Pay attention to what your body is telling you
Most people carry on with a similar level of exercise as before they were pregnant, during their first trimester. Although it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. You may not show that you’re pregnant right now, but your body is changing fast and you many feel tired, nauseous, breathless or highly emotional. So the general advice is keep going, but don’t overdo it.
We know during this difficult time you will probably have to adapt your routine. This could be the perfect time to take up yoga or pilates, or you could try a few simple things at home, like gardening, extra housework or dancing to your favourite tunes.
Whatever you do, make sure you stop if you start to get too hot, feel sick or dehydrated of experience vaginal discharge of pain.
Exercise in trimester 2
Think about reducing impact
The second trimester is considered by most to be ‘the best one’, where you start to wear that pregnancy glow. The baby bump starts to show and as your baby grows there are a few new limitations to take into consideration when training.
If you are a regular runner this is the trimester when you may have to (begrudgingly) move your training away from regular running. This is because running causes pressure on your pelvic floor which is supporting your uterus. Regular pressure or impact on your pelvic floor can lead to injury.
The second trimester is when you really start to glow and the right time to take up exercises specifically designed for pregnancy. There are plenty of routines you can try at home - such as pregnancy push-ups, side planks or the v-sit. Tash has created 12 exercises just for this trimester - why not head over to them now and start straight away.
Exercise in trimester 3
Avoid laying on our front or back
During your third trimester you need to find exercises that avoid laying on your front or back as this puts pressure on your vena cava vein which carries blood from the lower part of your body to the heart. If you’re into lifting weights and managing to do this from home - now’s the time to reduce the intensity and weights that you use.
There’s still plenty you can do to keep fit in pregnancy from home though. Tash has created 11 videos for you to follow. Why not try out the triceps dips or chair bridges - you can find them here.
Don’t Forget Your Pelvic Floor Exercises Ladies!
Whatever trimester you’re in, it’s important to remember your pelvic floor exercises. Your pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscles which stretch from the pubic bone in the front of your body to the end of your backbone (your spine). By keeping your muscles strong you’ll be able to avoid stress incontinence in pregnancy and beyond, so they’re well worth keeping up. Tash has top tips on keeping up your pelvic floor exercises here.
We know you may be finding it very hard to cope with pregnancy during these frightening times. But keeping in top health is so important for you and that lovely little life you’re growing inside you. Even on those days when you’re just not feeling up to it, try to remember to stay hydrated, keep eating healthy and exercise for your sake as well as babies.
Stay safe and well lovely mummies-to-be! x