Exercise while pregnant - should I or shouldn't I?*

Tuesday, 14 March 2017, By Emma Unwin

Pregnancy is a life changing experience, whether it's your first, second or sixth time. Being responsible for a small life can be daunting and confusing enough without throwing the need to exercise in there. Often new mothers are puzzled with questions about keeping their child safe and the uncertainty of exercise and eating effects throughout pregnancy.

Exercise during and after pregnancy is perfectly okay and advisable! The aim of exercise during pregnancy is to 'maintain your current fitness level, not so much to increase fitness'

Benefits of Continuing and Training During Pregnancy

  1. Maintain a healthy weight gain and allow you to return to pre-pregnancy weight
    • Average weight gain for pregnancy for average 60kg women is about 10-15kg
    • This weight gain is due to the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid and increased blood volume
  2. Being active can strengthen pelvic floor muscle and reduce risk of incontinence
  3. Exercise improves mood and aids in the prevention or pre and post-natal depression
    • A lack of exercise during pregnancy has been linked with a higher rate of depression -  2015, Psych central by Jane Collingwood
    • Recommended 30 mins/day for every day of the week
  4. Active pregnancy can help prepare for labour and reduce its length by 1/3 or <4 Hours
  5. An active lifestyle during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of back pain
  6. Active pregnancy can reduce chance of preeclampsia
    • This is a condition during pregnancy: high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in the urine
    • When untreated there is complications with the growth of the baby
  7. Exercise helps prevent/treat gestational diabetes by reducing insulin resistance and regulating blood glucose levels
  8. Exercise can help with better sleep, increased energy levels, constipation and improved circulation

Safety During Exercise

  • Before engaging in exercise it is strongly recommended to be cleared by your GP
  • The risk of placental disruption is possible during contact sports and it is advised to avoid these
  • There is no increase risk with high intensity exercise during pregnancy if you are already accustomed to that level of training
  • Straight line or stationary exercises e.g. walking, running, weight training
  • Be aware of exertion level and hydration status

Abdominal Separation:

Abdominal Separation is a condition where the right and left side of the Rectus abdominis is spread at the midline of the body. It's caused by the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall and the release of relaxant hormones during pregnancy. If there is greater than 1-2cm separation it is important to engage in a proper rehabilitation process or else back pain and herniation risk is increased.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes (5-8%) occurs during pregnancy where there is elevated blood glucose. Predominately occurs during the second trimester (24-28 weeks). Risks: over 30 years, family history of type 2 diabetes, overweight, previously had gestational diabetes, anti-psychotic medications, Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or previous baby birth weight of >4.5kg. Exercise is important for improving the sensitivity of insulin and thus regulating blood glucose levels. A balanced cardiovascular and weight training regime can help with this.

 

If you're unsure about where to start with your nutrition and exercise during exercise, be sure to give our studio a call on 9181 1711 and one of our expert health professionals will be on hand to answer all your questions!

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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