EX­ER­CISES FOR PREGNANCY PART 1

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Vanessa Bartlett

Learn about the ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise dur­ing each trimester in pregnancy

Be­ing a per­sonal trainer and Pi­lates in­struc­tor, I al­ways thought I had con­trol of when and how I would ex­er­cise.

Pregnancy is ex­cit­ing, chal­leng­ing, con­fronting and tran­si­tional in so many ways. You learn to ap­pre­ci­ate the small things your body can do, like ty­ing up shoelaces! Be­ing preg­nant with my first child, I’ve cer­tainly ex­pe­ri­enced some chal­lenges both phys­i­cally and men­tally. I have learned that there are days when you can do noth­ing more than rest on the couch. The key here is to lis­ten to your body and rest when needed, but also main­tain a bal­anced ex­er­cise plan dur­ing your pregnancy.

Hav­ing to mod­er­ate my reg­u­lar ex­er­cise regime and make mod­i­fi­ca­tions has been es­sen­tial, even in the first trimester where nor­mally you can main­tain your reg­u­lar regime, mi­nus any­thing hard core. On days where you are up to mov­ing about, ex­er­cise is a great way to lift your en­ergy, mood and build your strength while your body is un­der­go­ing so many changes.

THE BEN­E­FITS OF EX­ER­CISE DUR­ING PREGNANCY ARE:

• bet­ter weight man­age­ment

• in­creased mood

• preven­tion of pre­na­tal and post­na­tal de­pres­sion

• de­creased in­ci­dence of back pain

• low­er­ing your chance of de­vel­op­ing preeclamp­sia (high blood pres­sure) and ges­ta­tional di­a­betes

• bet­ter strength and pos­ture dur­ing and af­ter pregnancy.

WITHIN EACH TRIMESTER THERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO CON­SIDER: First trimester.

With fa­tigue, nau­sea and low blood sugar of­ten be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced, its im­por­tant you start to slow down your reg­u­lar ex­er­cise pace. Drink plenty of water and ex­er­cise at your best time of the day, not when you are feel­ing ill. You may con­tinue to do a va­ri­ety of ex­er­cise in­clud­ing car­dio work and strength work for the mus­cles and the ab­dom­i­nals.

How­ever, it is best to stop ex­treme sports or ac­tiv­i­ties that would be higher im­pact on your body. Check with your doc­tor if you are un­sure. In this trimester, I con­tin­ued reg­u­lar car­dio like walking, light aer­o­bic work and reg­u­lar Pi­lates. To­wards the end of the first trimester I eased off on the tummy work and min­imised strain into the ab­dom­i­nals.

AL­WAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOC­TOR OR GY­NAE­COL­O­GIST THAT IT IS SAFE FOR YOU TO EX­ER­CISE THROUGH­OUT PREGNANCY.

Sec­ond trimester.

You may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain in both the up­per and lower back ar­eas as well as sacroil­iac and pelvic pain. Drink­ing plenty of water is a must and again lis­ten to your body as you start to in­crease in size around your tummy. From the 16th week avoid ly­ing on your back (supine) as this can block vena cava’s blood flow back to the heart and avoid over­head ‘shoul­der press’ type move­ments.

It is best to use a bol­ster of some sort to keep you on a slight an­gle rather than lay­ing down for stretches. Stop all ab­dom­i­nal crunch and sit up style work and fo­cus more on core work sta­bil­ity and pelvic floor strength­en­ing like ‘Kegels’. This is where you draw your pelvic floor up and hold for ten sec­onds or so, then re­lease. Re­peat ten times each day.

Third trimester.

You may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­ness of breath, fluid re­ten­tion, vari­cose veins, stooped pos­ture and low en­ergy again. Your body will be feel­ing more ‘lax’ due to the hor­mone re­laxin, so take care not to over stretch. To­wards the end of pregnancy, re­laxin helps to re­lax the lig­a­ments in and around the pelvis so that your body can bet­ter adapt to the grow­ing baby.

Pay at­ten­tion to your pace of ex­er­cise and slow down, fo­cus­ing on con­trol of each move­ment, as your cen­tre of grav­ity will also be off bal­ance. Light walking and some gen­tle Pi­lates or Yoga style ex­er­cises are ex­cel­lent es­pe­cially dur­ing this third trimester where you want to re­lax and de-stress, as well as gen­tly strengthen your body.

Please note: if you are not used to reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, please con­sult your doc­tor be­fore com­menc­ing any ex­er­cise pro­gram.

In the next is­sue of Great Health GuideTM, I will out­line a group of ex­er­cises that may be suit­able for you through­out your pregnancy.

Vanessa Bartlett has 14 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the fit­ness in­dus­try and has ap­peared as a pre­sen­ter for TVSN, The Morn­ing Show and co-hosted a com­mu­nity TV Life­style show. In 2013, she was part of a group award for ‘In­no­va­tion in Health­care’ and is on a mission to em­power peo­ple to be­come ed­u­cated in holis­tic health prac­tices, pow­ered by Pi­lates. See Vanessa’s web­site for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion

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