Exercising while pregnant – the dos and don’ts
by Matt Hodges
12 June 2015
Nothing should stand in the way of your good health and fitness – not even pregnancy. That said – it probably comes as no surprise to learn that when you are pregnant, you have to make some adjustments to your workout regime.
Before you start shopping for maternity gym gear, read through our dos and don’ts for exercising while pregnant.
DO hire a personal trainer
Your personal trainer knows what you are capable of, and they are ready to step in if you are struggling with a particular fitness exercise or position. Personal training sessions are particularly important during pregnancy, as your body is changing from one trimester to the next. A growing baby bump affects your posture, balance, core strength and flexibility in ways that may not be instantly apparent to you.
DON’T take part in risky exercises
A risky activity means anything where you are at risk of falling or being hit. That can include skiing, horse riding, cycling, gymnastics, judo, and boxing. Engaging in these types of activities is simply not worth the risk of injuring yourself or your baby – at any stage of your pregnancy.
DO practice yoga
Yoga can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. Whether you are using yoga as a breathing aid or using it to improve your flexibility, it’s one of the few exercises that can be practiced safely throughout your entire pregnancy. As well as the physical benefits, yoga offers relaxation; gentle sessions are an effective way to unwind and learn the art of controlled breathing. You may even find yourself relying on yoga techniques when you are in the delivery room!
DON’T push yourself too hard
Pregnancy is not the ideal time to try to beat your Personal Best – by all means keep hitting the gym three times a week, but don’t allow yourself to get exhausted. Many doctors suggest that it’s unwise to allow your heart rate to go past 130 while you are pregnant. That said, pulse rates will vary, depending on your general level of fitness and whichever stage you are at in your pregnancy.
DO focus on abdominal and pelvic exercises
During the early stages of expecting a baby, it is a good idea to focus on exercises that strengthen your abdominal and pelvic muscles. Development of these will help you to carry the extra weight of your baby later on in your pregnancy. Work with your personal trainer to create a series of short daily exercises that you can practice in your first and second trimester.
DON’T be too hard on yourself
Every woman has an entirely different experience of pregnancy. Some will be hitting the gym until their waters break while others will find that they need much more rest than usual. When you’re expecting, not every day will necessarily feel like a gym day. Put yourself and your baby first at this time, do what feels right for you and always take your doctor’s advice before making any changes to your exercise regime or your diet.