Should You Exercise During Pregnancy?

There are numerous benefits to exercising regularly during pregnancy, but sometimes the thought of exercise can feel a bit daunting when you first find out that you are expecting. Not to mention finding the time and motivation when you are feeling a bit low in energy between the ‘morning’ sickness, continuing to work and trying to rack up some Zzz’s.

The national guidelines state that pregnant women who habitually engage in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., the equivalent of running or jogging) or who are highly active “can continue physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, provided that they remain healthy and discuss with their health care provider how and when activity should be adjusted over time” (ACOG 2015)

Key considerations for exercising in the first trimester;

  • Unless you have been advised otherwise by a health care professional, it is safe to continue your normal exercise regime
  • It is crucial to avoid overheating in the early stages of pregnancy so ensure that you wear loose clothing and keep yourself hydrated
  • Avoid contact sports i.e. where your abdomen is at risk of injury/trauma
  • Ensure that you are confident with doing your daily pelvic floor exercises (you can see your local women’s/pelvic health physiotherapist for a MOT if not)
  • Be aware that balance changes begin to occur almost immediately – this, along with hormonal changes that soften your ligaments and tendons can increase your injury risk – however those that exercise more often are less likely to have falls!
  • Your aerobic capacity can improve due to the increase in circulating blood volume, so this can be used to your advantage for training benefits.

But who do you turn to for fitness advice during your pregnancy? Or if you are unsure of what exercise you should be doing? And what are the signs that you are exercising to the right intensity, especially in the first trimester?

Firstly, as soon as you discover you are pregnant you need to tell your GP so that they can begin to implement your pregnancy care plan and get your first scan booked in. Secondly, make sure to tell your fitness instructor (feel free to be discreet) so that they can help advise you on any necessary adjustments during your workout and can just generally keep an eye on you if you start to feel dizzy or faint for example.

To learn about why these things are important and so much more, come along to the workshop – Exercising Safely in Pregnancy and After Delivery on Thursday 24thJan 2019