A healthy, strong body and a positive mindset will help you on your journey through pregnancy. I recommend keeping active throughout your pregnancy and also the post-natal stages. The most important factor is that you should feel safe at all times and within your comfort zone.
Studies show women who exercised during their pregnancy, maintained their fitness that they had before their baby, put on the recommended weight for pregnancy (depending on your body type roughly about 12-16kg) and were able to get back into their fitness regime earlier.
Before you start your fitness journey, make sure you get the all clear from your doctor or obstetrician. In the majority of pregnancies, you are allowed to exercise daily for 20-30 mins at a low to moderate pace. Some examples of great exercise options include walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, Aqua classes and light resistance training. If you have any complications or are considered higher risk you may need to slow down the pace and take it easier. Talk to your doctor to find out what suits you.
Many people are under the impression that any sort of exercise whilst pregnant is "bad" or "unsafe'' but this is not the case. For example, if you trained 3 times a week before getting pregnant there is no harm in doing the same whilst pregnant, you may just need to change a few things such as the intensity of the weights you were lifting, if you competed in a contact sport or for how long your training went for. Just remember to listen to your body and if you need to rest you are allowed.
Exercising before and after pregnancy is highly beneficial for you and your child, some of the benefits are:
- Boosts energy levels
- Healthy weight gain for both mum and baby
- Better sleep quality - aim for over 7-9 hours a night.
- Lowers risk of birth complications
- Easier and safer delivery
After you have given birth, don't feel the pressure of getting back to your pre baby weight. Remember it took 9 months, it may or may not take that long to lose. Before you begin exercising again you will need clearance from your doctor to get back out there, if you had a caesarean you will need to wait 6-8 weeks before any exercise. A C-section is a major surgery involving cutting into body and your abdomen muscles to get your baby out, just because after 6 weeks the scar has healed, doesn't mean the deep tissue has. Start with some light walking, swimming and low impact body exercises. Avoid running, jumping and heavy weight training.
If you had a natural birth the recommended time to rest is 2 - 6 weeks post-partum, depending on if there were any complications. Start with some light walking with your baby or with your mothers group. You can then build up your strength doing some body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, and push ups.
Good luck with your fitness journey and the birth of your child.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.