Staying in shape and being healthy is something many women consider when pregnant. Perhaps you are someone who exercises regularly. But is it safe to carry on as normal? Or maybe you don’t do much in the way of exercise so wonder if you should start? It can be a confusing time! I chatted to the lovely Elspeth Alexandra from Edinburgh Women’s Fitness and she was more than happy to share her expert opinion!
The government recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week for everyone. Being pregnant doesn’t excuse you from that – in fact there’s a special infographic for pregnant women!
As long as:
your GP or midwife says it’s fine for you to exercise,
your pregnancy isn’t in the ‘high risk’ category, and
you’ve eliminated any activities with a high risk of trauma (I’m thinking water skiing, rugby, abseiling, netball),
you can continue your exercise regime as long as it feels good for you.
As a pregnancy fitness specialist, I have a couple of things to add.
I train pregnant women to look after their core muscles and pelvic floors. The core & pelvic floor usually bear the brunt of physical changes in pregnancy – every day they’re being stretched and weakened. Crunches, planks and high impact exercise will only exacerbate this weakness.
Additionally, your body’s alignment changes as you grow bigger in front. Heavy boobs and a growing bump will lengthen your upper back and tighten your lower back, unless you’re working to strengthen all the muscles in the back of your body.
Good alignment will keep you moving better, for longer into your pregnancy, AND it will increase your options for labour.
A good pregnancy fitness instructor will always thoroughly screen you before class. This way you can be more confident that none of the exercises will exacerbate any pregnancy related complaints you have or make you uncomfortable (I’m thinking carpal tunnel syndrome, pelvic pain, joint aches, haemorrhoids.)
And one last thing. If you’re pregnant and worried that you’re losing all your fitness because you’re gasping for air just going up the stairs – don’t worry. That happens because your body is prioritising blood flow to your baby, not your working muscles. It takes a while for the oxygen to get to where you need it. This is why a pregnancy fitness class will always include a longer, gradual warm-up!
Elspeth Alexandra teaches PREGNANCY POWER-UP on Sunday mornings at 0920 at #BobsGarage Gym, 27 Stewartfield, EH6 5RQ. You can find out more at http://edinburghwomensfitness.co.uk/classes/baby-bump-fit/ where you can also book your first class for free.