If you are pregnant and feeling confused about what form of exercise is safe to do – you are not alone!
Did you know:
1 in 10 women will develop gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnancy
Most women experience some form of back and pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Some women will experience a mood disturbance or disorder such as depression or anxiety during pregnancy.
Evidence supports the role of exercise in managing these problems, and more, in pregnancy.
After the first trimester, many people feel ready to switch their usual programs to something more specific to pregnancy, because modifications are needed to ensure you are exercising safely during this time. For any women who were not physically active before pregnancy, now is the best time to begin a pregnancy specific workout and start to slowly work towards increasing strength and stability through the body.
Attending a regular pregnancy exercise class such as the Beautiful Bumps class run by myPhysioSA for her is an ideal way to build strength, stretch tight muscles, link in with other expectant mothers and learn more about pregnancy health and fitness from your Physiotherapist leading the sessions.
How we can help:
Pregnancy has a profound effect on the body, both emotionally and physically. One of the best things you can do to cope with these new demands is to remain physically active and exercise regularly. If you have been regularly active and exercising prior to falling pregnant, it is generally safe to continue to do your usual activity for the first trimester. If you were not previously active, pregnancy is an excellent time to start, and while we generally recommend waiting until after the first trimester before commencing any new forms of exercise, gradually increasing your walking during this time is a perfect way to build your base fitness safely.
Exercise in pregnancy;
- Improves energy levels, sleep and overall mood; important for preventing and/or managing pregnancy-induced or pre-existing mental health conditions.
- Promotes healthy weight gain for both mother and baby; reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and encouraging a normal birth weight for your newborn.
- Reduces back and pelvic pain which keeps you feeling fit and well, and reduces sick leave.
- Improves general fitness and strength, better preparing you and your baby to cope with the physical demands of labour.
- Appears to decrease your risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia, as well as reducing the risk of complicated labour and caesarean section.
Why do I need help?
While exercise is encouraged and generally safe to do in pregnancy, the physical changes (lengthening of the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, and softening of ligaments) do make your body more vulnerable to injury. There are other physiological changes (such as changes in the cardiovascular system) that also need to be taken into account and some pregnancy complications, which require modifications to your exercise routine.
Our women’s health physiotherapists are passionate about keeping women fit and active throughout their pregnancy! We run Beautiful Bumps, a pregnancy-specific exercise class at our Payneham and Mount Barker clinics, which allows pregnant women to exercise together in a safe and supervised setting. We encourage you to book in to speak to one of our team about what form of exercise will suit you best and any other pregnancy concerns you may have.
Kate Goode, myPhysioSA for Her, Clinical Director and Senior Women’s Health Physiotherapist