Can you exercise while Pregnant??
Whether you’ve been a super fitness freak for years now or you’re new to the bandwagon and it’s just becoming a habit- just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean it all has to stop!
Suddenly you are everyone else’s property, they’ve all got an opinion and the amount of advice telling you to A- sit on your ass for 40 weeks and B- eat for 2(!) is overwhelming!
But, if you have ever taken your health and fitness seriously YOU are the best person to determine what is best for YOU and YOUR baby so lesson number 1 is to set your own ideas, stick to your guns and block out all the haters! Closely followed by Number 2 which is to arm yourself with knowledge- not only to fight off those unwanted opinions but to be sure in your own mind you are doing what is right for you.
The first important thing to remember is that throughout your pregnancy the hormone relaxin (not a joke!) has taken over your body and any movements from yoga stretches to weight lifting to just lifting the shopping can easily cause an injury. But don’t wave the white flag and give in to the sofa just yet- taking the time to get to know your body and its new limits gently, becoming more mindful (yes it’s difficult when you’re so damn tired!) about any movements you make rather than ‘throwing’ yourself around can be really helpful! (For example, to prevent back pain when picking something up, tuck your ‘tail bone’ under to protect your spine and core muscles) Yoga is amazing for this, particularly prenatal yoga- it’s not just for ‘flexible people’ and it’s all about practice!
It doesn’t have to all be about Ohm’s and zen though either- most National Governing Bodies of sport allow you to play sport until weeks 12-16 if you still feel like it- at this stage your pelvis is doing all the protecting and it’s pretty strong!
There are huge benefits to maintaining your exercise levels throughout pregnancy including a steady blood pressure, reduced stress, reduced insomnia, improvements in mood and improved circulation- and of course all of these have positive effects on your growing baby too!
So… If you do your own research, don’t listen to anyone without prenatal knowledge and above all listen to your OWN body (if you need to stop then do it, if you’re feeling a buzz then keep at it) then there is no reason to change your lifestyle so dramatically! Small adjustments like slightly longer rest periods, preparing snacks for energy and increasing fluids (water or electrolyte replacement only- no diet cokes here!) can keep you going for longer!
Finally, research also suggests that the ‘stress’ you put your body and your baby under during exercise, simulate and prepare for labour and lets be honest women have been doing that for millions of years!