You’re pregnant - congratulations! You’re thrilled, possibly nervous and suddenly acutely aware that you’re not the only one you need to take care of now.
Like many other expectant mothers, you’ve probably already hit up your good pal Google for advice. What started out as a quick glance has turned into 36 hours of intense scouring through amusing blogs, widely varied opinions and a whole lot of information on subjects you were completely unaware of until right now. Yikes.
But don’t despair. It is possible to exercise throughout pregnancy - and feel good doing it! From relieving aches and pains to boosting energy, increasing your sense of well-being and preparing your body for labour and childbirth, the list of exercise benefits go on. Simply, the better you look after yourself, the easier your pregnancy will be.
Where to start? Stop comparing yourself.
Easier said than done, I know. The truth is – bodies react differently to pregnancy. Some women will run 5kms a day and appear to gain no weight whatsoever, other than that bowling ball up their shirt. Others will hover nauseously by the bathroom for weeks and swear their body has been overrun by a gang of unruly marshmallows. The important thing to remember is, this is your pregnancy. Not your friend’s. Not your Mum’s. Not your sister-in-law’s. Do what works for you and makes you feel good.
8 basic rules for safe exercise when pregnant:
Yes, you need to take extra precautions when exercising while pregnant, but this doesn’t mean stop everything you’re doing, lie down and have some cake. The rules:
1. Get the all-clear from your health professional (especially important if you’re new to exercise)
2. Avoid dangerous sports
3. Warm up/cool down
4. Drink plenty of water
5. Don’t lie flat on your back after the first trimester
6. Don’t overdo it/get overheated
7. Get up from the floor slowly
8. Be aware of movements to avoid (jerking, closed twisting, high impact, quick changes in direction etc)
The thing is, you’re pregnant – not broken.
Low impact exercises are brilliant and certainly easier to keep up throughout your pregnancy – swimming, yoga, stationary cycling and walking are all great. However, if you’ve been exercising consistently prior to becoming pregnant, chances are you’ll be fine to continue your usual exercise regime with a few modifications (slower pace, lighter weights, avoiding certain movements etc).
If your usual workout is kick boxing, obviously bigger changes need to be made. Check with your doctor what’s appropriate for you.
So go on, take care of yourself – you’ll be glad you did.
Amanda is a registered personal trainer and certified boxing instructor who specialises in fitness for women. Her goal is to inspire women of all ages to enjoy living an active, healthy life!
As a Mum of an active boy and baby girl and owner of Perth-based personal training company She’s a Knockout, Amanda is dedicated to empowering women to be fit, strong and confident in themselves.