PREGNANCY AND EXERCISE
- What are the recommendations about physical exercise in pregnancy
- Pregnant women can continue the exercises and physical activity they were involved in prior to pregnancy as long as they are not high risk
- Inactivity or lack of physical activity should be avoided in pregnancy
- Immediate cessation of all activity once pregnancy is confirmed is not required.
- INTENSIVE physical activity and high impact sport and activities need to be discussed with your obstetrician and avoided
WHO SHOULD AVOID EXERCISE?
When in doubt always ask your Obstetrician for advice. As a general rule of thumb, patients with bleeding in pregnancy, women with open or dilated neck of womb (cervix), women in suspected preterm labour will be advised to stop doing exercise.
ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE NEVER DONE ANY EXERCISE BEFORE PREGNANCY
Pregnancy is a good time to start regular physical activity.
I advise my patients to start by doing a simple 15 min slow walk and gradually escalate it to 60 minutes of brisk walking.
Breathing exercises are extremely beneficial and all our pregnant women are taught them in our antenatal classes.
Another important aspect is pelvic floor exercises, which are an absolute must both antenatally and postnatally.
ADVANTAGES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN PREGNANCY
- Regular exercise of 3 hours per week as a 30 minute routine or hourly routines three days a week confer many benefits.
- It prevents women from gaining excessive weight, developing diabetes and hypertension in pregnancy.
- It also helps with reflex, sleeplessness and gives women a sense of general well being.
- The breathing exercises and pelvic floor exercise helps in normal labour
- Women who exercise regularly need to be cautious about the following
- If your routine makes you breathless and you cannot speak whole sentences.
- If it has a risk of falls and involves being under water for prolonged periods and at high altitudes
- Your normal balance is altered in pregnancy
- Listen to your body and slow down if required
- Pregnancy is not a good time to attempt weight loss.