Exercising Safely During Pregnancy

There is nothing wrong with exercising when pregnant. When it comes to exercise prescription for the pregnant woman one important factor to consider is her fitness level.

What was your fitness level before pregnancy? How physically active were you? Were you actively exercising or going to the gym? What were your physical activities? Were you swimming, jogging, playing tennis or just involved in household chores?

After being certified fit by a medical personnel, exercise and pregnancy are really good friends as long as the boundaries are observed.

Here are some guidelines to follow when exercising during pregnancy:

  • Avoid exercising in high temperatures. Stop exercising if you are getting uncomfortably warm. It is important to maintain your hydration level, so always have water with you during your exercise time
  • Avoid exercising in the supine position (lying on your back, face up)
  • Exercise sessions, which should be handled by the therapist, shouldn't be more than 45 minutes
  • Avoid breath holding activities such as scuba diving and vigorous strength training
  • If you weren't that active before you got pregnant or aren't really an "exercise person", settle for low impact activities like walking or swimming.
  • Balance training during pregnancy is unnecessary because of the risk of falls
  • Flexibility and strength training can be put on hold or done under careful supervision. The body is already getting " flexible " under the influence of relaxing hormone

Benefits of remaining active during pregnancy:

  • Being physically active while pregnant is likely to reduce the level of pain or discomfort you may feel
  • It can help maintain or even improve your level of fitness and endurance
  • It will likely reduce the risk of occurrence of varicose veins or swelling
  • Exercising or staying active during pregnancy will help reduce experiences of fatigue, stress and anxiety
  • It has also been observed that pregnant women who exercise tend to have a shorter labour period, fewer complications and quicker recovery after delivery

Exercise during pregnancy is  complete NO in the following cases:
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • An incompetent cervix
  • Persistent bleeding

In summary, a pregnant woman is blessed with the assignment of carrying a baby to full term, and bringing forth the child as safely as she can, without jeopardizing her own health.

Your physiotherapist is qualified to walk you through this period, keeping you as active as you should be.

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