Pregnancy and Exercise

In the early days Obstetricians and Gynecologists tended to treat pregnancy as an illness and not the celebration of life!  There were indeed many do’s and don’ts in regards to exercise.

Your heart rate during pregnancy is affected by many factors including your hormones.  Heart Rate is therefore not always the best indicator of how hard you are working in exercise during your pregnancy.

It is far better therefore to rely more on how you feel and then work within your comfort level.  You will find that it takes a lot less effort to reach a level of discomfort after pregnancy than it did before.  At
the end of your first trimester don’t complete any exercises that require you to lie on your back, as this position tends to elevate your blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the baby.  Also avoid crunches. 
Abdominal strengthening can still take place by using a fit ball to complete your weight routine.   By using the fit ball you will be concentrating on core stability.  Hormone changes within your body also make your
joints slightly looser than normal so be careful when stretching your muscles around your hips knees, ankles and shoulders.  While stretching is good to relieve aches and soreness be sure to not stretch beyond
your comfort zone, hold stretches for no longer than 20-25 seconds. 

While weight training is a good idea during pregnancy we wouldn’t suggest taking up the activity if you have never participated in weight training before.  Keeping muscles strong does help to prevent those aches and pains.  Common sense should be used when choosing an exercise during pregnancy.  Many women enjoy walking or swimming.  Swimming tends to reduce the pressure on joints and supports your body weight while exercising.  Ensure before, during and after exercise that your consume loads of water. 

It is important not to overheat your body.  Also avoid any overhead lifting, as these exercises tend to raise your blood pressure.  If you feel overheated, faint, lightheaded or breathless stop exercising immediately.  Have your fitness consultant check your blood pressure regularly.  Always consult with your doctor prior to any exercise, as no two pregnancies are the same.  Ensure you carry a nutritious snack for after your workouts.

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