FROM WHICH MONTH SHOULD I START WITH EXERCISES, AND HOW LONG INTO THE PREGNANCY CAN I CONTINUE?
Being fit or planning to become fit before conceiving is of course the ideal. The healthier and stronger your muscles, the better you will cope with pregnancy and labour. It is never too late to embark on an exercise programme as long as your pregnancy is healthy and you are working with an instructor who knows how to modify the exercises as your pregnancy progresses. During the first trimester of pregnancy – if you are not used to exercising – you need to wait until 16 weeks before starting. Even if you are used to exercise, you will find that you are not able to perform as well as before because your body is adjusting to being pregnant, the foetus is grabbing all the carbohydrates that it can and your body has already started storing fat for when you are breastfeeding. This is also the most critical time in your baby’s development so there is not a lot of energy left for you. Your workout intensity may slow down by 10 to 20 percent. This is your body’s way of making sure that you do not do anything that may harm the baby. In the second trimester your body has adjusted to its new condition and you are not storing as much fat at this time. Your energy levels are boosted and you may find that you can work out at your usual levels – enjoying your “second wind” that comes with the second trimester. The last trimester is another story altogether! Your belly is bigger, blood pools in your lower extremities easily and you become swollen, your breathing becomes more rapid, you are more likely to suffer from balance disturbances and sore joints. Sounds wonderful! Most moms need to slow down their intensity by 35 percent to 45 percent. This is normal. Mother Nature in her wisdom ensures that you slow down, by making blood less available to the working muscles when exercising.