If you have just found out that you are pregnant and not sure whether you are allowed to exercise then carry on reading…….
ACOG (2002) states that women who are healthy and pregnant can exercise like a normal person. The recommendation is 30 minutes plus of moderate exercise. Exercise can be conducted once a week up to seven days a week.
Here are a few questions & answers, which might help you decide whether you chose to exercise, or not?
I haven’t exercised before pregnancy is it safe?
ACOG encourage all pregnant women to exercise, therefore if you haven’t exercised before why not start? ACOG want all women to adapt a healthy lifestyle when pregnant this includes: exercising and having a healthy diet. The exercises conduct should be moderate and progressive.
What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?
•Improves the recovery of postnatal.
•Helps get into shaper quicker after giving birth.
•Less likely to put on as much baby weight as a non-exerciser.
•Feel more energetic throughout the day and less fatigued than a non-exerciser.
•Studies suggest it reduces the likelihood of gestational diabetes by 27%
•A study found that 58% of women who participant frequently in prenatal water aerobics, didn’t request pain medication during labour, than women who didn’t do any exercise.
•Help’s maintain general fitness
•Improves self esteem and confidence
Does exercise affect birth weight of babies?
There are studies which suggest that exercise can cause low birth weight and but then there are studies which argue exercise doesn’t effect the birth weight. James Clapp (1998) found that throughout pregnancy dynamic and consistent exercise can lessening fetal fat without reducing overall growth. In its simplest form women who exercise don’t have lighter babies they have leaner babies.
How high should my heart rate be?
There is no definite answer to this question. This is down to the individual and their resting heart rate. Heart rate will be affected by how fit or unfit you are. MerckManual.com states ‘that pregnancy causes a woman’s resting heart rate to increase by 10 to 20 beats per minute’. A pregnant woman’s heart rate will increase quicker then pre pregnancy, therefore, when exercising the heart rate will feel higher then it did before pregnancy.
What type of exercise can be done during pregnancy?
Each individual is different so this is very individualist. It’s very important to listen to the body. Most women are advised to do low impact activities such as; swimming, biking, water aerobics and walking. However, if you are a keen runner then running isn’t off limits. There will be a point when running isn’t an option because it will become very uncomfortable, this normally occurs during the third trimester when the baby is increasing in size.
Strengthening exercise can be continued but this should be carried out with a lower weight, the aim would be high reps but low weight.
Pelvic floor exercises are the key during the trimester this will help you later on in the pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles will come under a great deal of stress during the pregnancy so they need to be prepared for this. Pelvic floor exercises should be done a few times a day.
What exercises should be avoided?
•After 16 weeks it is essential that you do not lie flat on your back when conducting exercises. This will place additional weight on the blood vessels, which will cause dizziness and faintness.
•Avoid contact sports or any types of exercise which could put you and the baby at risk
Nutrition and pregnancy
•Extra 200-300 calories should be added a day to your diet.
•Protein should be 75-100g per day
•Calcium- 1,000-1200 mg a day
•Iron- 30mg a day
•Folic acid needs to be increased during pregnancy to 800 mg per day