Many women feel that taking part in any form of exercise during pregnancy may be harmful to their unborn baby. Often one of the main anxieties for newly pregnant women is the fear that exercising will cause a miscarriage. However, ‘there is no real evidence evidence that exercise is linked to miscarriage’ as stated by Bruce K. Young, MD, co-author of Miscarriage, Medicine & Miracles (Bantam) and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at New York University School of Medicine. For the majority of women, exercise is perfectly safe during their pregnancy as long as it has been modified for pregnancy and you have been cleared by your midwife/gyno/doctor. You should always consult your GP before taking part in any exercise. Pregnancy certainly isn’t a time you should be pushing yourself to the max and training to exhaustion, but light to moderate exercise is more than acceptable.
Changes to your body when your pregnant!
Us women are amazing! Our bodies have the abilities to grow a new human being inside of us and I mean if that’s not enough the baby uses our body to feed when in our womb and once the baby is born we produce a milk that has all the essential nutrients for our baby to grow and develop. I mean its mind boggling really! When a woman is pregnant, her body goes through many major changes. Some of the most common changes are (obviously) the big baby bump, sore larger breast, sickness and dizziness and fatigue. Alongside this, we produce more of the hormone ‘Relaxin’, which does what it says on the tin! This hormone is produced by the ovaries (all the time) and the placenta and (when pregnant). Its purpose is to relax the the soft tissue and ligaments in the body, preparing your body for the pregnancy and for the birth of your baby. Women’s blood volume also increases during pregnancy, so relaxin relaxes the arteries as well sot that the body can deal with the increased blood flow. It’s not only physical changes, but women will also go through some emotional changes as well due to the cocktail of hormones surging through the body. Women may feel both ‘up and down’ throughout the pregnancy. You have to remember that your brain is taking on a lot of new important information so you may feel unsettled or anxious at times! With all this in mind it is obvious that tailored exercise from a suitably qualified health practitioner is paramount. Exercise is completely acceptable, as long as it has been adapted and takes into account your changing body!
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
So now you know that exercise during your pregnancy is safe you may be wandering about the benefits you will gain from doing so?
Recommendations for exercise
If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant you should be able to carry on with most activities or training styles as long as you modify certain exercises/ reduce weight or intensity etc. If you are new to exercise start off with some light exercise. Exercise’s when pregnant:
Exercise to avoid
There are some types of exercise and training that you should avoid when pregnant. Here are a few.
When should I stop exercising?
When exercising you should continuously consider how you are feeling and monitor any signs of potential problems. If you are working with a Personal Trainer, they will monitor any signs and will regularly ask you how you are feeling. If you have any of these symptoms you should cease exercise immediately and go and see your GP straight away.