I’m not fat. I’m just pregnant. – Tale of a preggie
Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your time of pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue. There is proven evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes – the kind of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, relieve stress and build more stamina needed for labour and delivery.
If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity this time at a slower pace. Do not try to exercise at your former level.
Ensure you keep you obstetrician aware of all your moves. Listen and follow the advice of your doctor.
So here’s how you can stay fit during pregnancy.
If pre-pregnancy exercise levels were low, a quick stroll around the neighbourhood is a good way to start.
This exercise will not have too much impact on the knees and ankles.
Ensure you wear supportive footwear and walk on smooth surfaces.
Swimming and walking in water may offer some relief from the extra weight and won’t put too much pressure on the joints.
Ensure you choose a stroke that feels comfortable, and that does not strain or hurt your neck, shoulders, or back muscles. Use the railing for balance when entering the water, to prevent slipping.
Never dive or jump, as this could impact the abdomen.
Stay off warm pools, steam rooms, hot tubs, and saunas, to minimize the risk of overheating.
Stationary biking has been recommended by obstetricians and fitness experts even for first-time exercisers as it helps raise the heart rate without putting too much stress on the joints.
Yoga is known to help the joints, maintain flexibility, strengthen muscles, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances relaxation which may contribute to healthy blood pressure during pregnancy.
The techniques learnt in yoga class could help you to stay calm and in control during labour.
Safety tips you should take note of as the pregnancy progresses;
- Skip positions that could cause you to overbalance.
- As you get heavier, avoid poses that involve lying on the abdomen or flat on the back.
- Never overstretch as it could lead to injury.
Squatting and pelvic tilts (best while preparing for labour):
Squatting may help to open the pelvis, fitness experts recommend this practice during pregnancy.
Stand with the feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and the back straight then lower yourself slowly, keeping your feet flat and your knees no further forward than your feet.
Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and then slowly push up.
Pelvic tilts can strengthen the abdominal muscles and help reduce back pain. Go down on the hands and knees and then tilt the hips forward and pull the abdomen in, arching the back. Hold for a few seconds, release, and let your back drop. Repeat this up to 10 times.
Pregnancy is an experience that will definitely impact the way you look and feel. Don’t fight it because you feel fat. It is important to listen to your body and stay safe during exercise.