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Exercising throughout your pregnancy

Not so long ago, women were told to take it easy during pregnancy to avoid harming themselves and the baby. Luckily, that advice has changed as new research shows there are many benefits of being physically active from the start to finish of your pregnancy.  

Admittedly you’re over tired, unpredictably nauseous, and scared that each move you make will harm the baby. However, research and studies have shown that exercise may help reduce the risk of miscarriage, caesarean section, pre-term birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and excessive weight gain.

With the above in mind active pregnant women should still be aware of what is and isn’t safe during each stage of their pregnancy. Check out the trimester-by-trimester breakdown below.

**PLEASE NOTE** We recommend speaking to your doctor if you are unsure about beginning or resuming exercise during pregnancy

FIRST Trimester

Your hormones are changing fast, your energy levels have more than likely turned to zero and you're feeling like beige food is your new best friend. During the first few months, it's so important to listen to your body and go with what it tells you. You may be feeling great with lots of energy, or you maybe feeling dreadful and couldn't think of anything other than sitting on your sofa and riding the wave. If you are feeling up to it, now is a good time to start being active.

It will make you feel good and is great for your growing baby.   

Exercise Tips for first trimester

  • Try to stick to your usual exercise routine, your body is going through a lot of changes and it's important to remain consistent (if you have the energy) 
  • Make sure you keep an eye on your heart rate, during pregnancy this can be higher than normal - there are lots of heart rate monitors to keep an eye on this
  • PELVIC FLOORS - a must. There are lots of apps to keep make sure you don't forget to do this a few times daily
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (at least 2-3L a day)
  • Running, walking, swimming are all good cardiovascular exercises
  • Try to find local pregnancy pilates & yoga classes, this is great for strengthening your body pregnancy, labour and post-baby recovery - plus you can make some mummy friends!
  • Avoid crunches, sit-ups, frontal planks, chin-ups, pull-ups, heavy lifting over head and any activity that involves holding your breath

SECOND Trimester

Often by now the nervous feeling has gone and the sickness generally calms down and energy levels have often returned - hooray! It’s time to start enjoying that energy you have back and keeping your body fit and strong for growing a healthy baby.

Exercise tips for second trimester

  • Mix it up, try to do a combination of cardio and strength training around 3-5 times a week 
  • A good place to start is a 30 min session and building it up if you have the energy
  • Never underestimate how great cardio is such as walking, swimming, cross training, as well as those light core exercises such as pilates & yoga
  • Avoid crunches, sit-ups, frontal planks, chin-ups, pull-ups, heavy lifting over head and any activity that involves holding your breath

THIRD Trimester

You’re there, the third trimester!  By now the struggles with sleep and aches and pains are likely at its all-time high. Regular stretching and strength work will help to stay on top of the aches and pains or perhaps invest some money into a nice pregnancy massage (always check they are trained in this field!)

Exercise tips for third trimester

  • The key is making sure you are always warmed up, the muscles are looser than ever and the relaxin hormone is at an all time high
  • If you can no longer manage a set 'workout'  walking and swimming is a great way to exercise without over doing it
  • Continue with those pelvic floors!
  • It's still safe to continue with exercising but reduce to 2-3 sessions or even 1-2 sessions per week and make sure you keep listening to your body
  • Avoid crunches, sit-ups, frontal planks, chin-ups, pull-ups, heavy lifting over head and any activity that involves holding your breath

Remember to seek medical advice before you start to exercise during your pregnancy and to keep checking with your midwife at your appointments to make sure you are staying safe for you and baby. 

Exercising during pregnancy works wonders for your body and more than anything, keeps your mental health strong and focused.

Time to grab your leggings!