Exercising both during and after pregnancy has benefits for both you and your baby. Not only does it benefit your body physically, there are plenty of emotional and social benefits too. It is entirely safe for you to participate in our range of group fitness classes – From Zumba to Body Pump, Aqua to Aerobics – It’s all about choosing the right level for your changing body.
Research suggests that women who continue to exercise during pregnancy and lactation gain less weight, deposit less fat, feel better, have shorter labours and recover more rapidly than those who don’t stop or don’t exercise.
Exercising during and after pregnancy is about maintaining your fitness levels, rather than improving them. Stick to activities you enjoyed previously, taking lower and lighter options where needed, and knowing the warning signs for exceeding your limits. Every woman fits into a different end of the spectrum, so whether you’re a couch potato or a keen gym bunny, there is some basic advice for exercising sensibly during your pregnancy.
For more information around exercise in pregnancy and after download our #activemama booklet here.
Being pregnant may mean you are now more conscious of your health than you were previously. Always include a warm-up and a cool down as part of your exercise, and then aim for 15 minutes of continuous exercise at least three times a week, progressing to 30 minutes 4 times a week after a few weeks. Look for activities that you enjoy and fits into your daily routine so you are more likely to continue it as your pregnancy develops.
Don’t worry about losing your hard earned strength and cardiovascular fitness. During pregnancy it is best to aim to maintain your fitness, not try to reach peak fitness. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise at a time, avoiding anything involving lying flat on your back. Be sensible with your exercise-keep well hydrated, eat regularly and avoid overheating.
Your exercise plan should consider the level of fitness you have at the moment. It is worth discussing with your midwife or doctor if you are used to exercising at a high level as they will need to monitor you now you are pregnant. Pay good attention to hydration, nutritional requirements and not overheating. High impact contact sports should be avoided and stop exercising if you experience any unusual pain or bleeding.
Postnatal exercise may not be at the forefront of your mind, but there are many benefits for both you and your new baby; increased energy levels, weight loss and reducing postnatal depression. Focus on a ‘little bit of everything in moderation.’ Gentle activity such as pelvic floor exercises, stretching and walking can begin a week after birth if you had an uncomplicated delivery. If you has a caesarean section, you should consult your doctor or midwife at your six week check-up.