MY TOP 10 TIPS FOR EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
You may read lots of different things about exercise in pregnancy, and have heard lots of different opinions from friends, family and health professionals. This can be confusing at times or vague and make it challenging for you to know what is safe & appropriate.
So I've decided to put together some of my top tips for choosing safe & appropriate exercise in pregnancy, which is based on current research, 14 years of clinical experience, and to a much smaller extent personal experience.
1. Include some aerobic/endurance exercise on most days of the week. Safe aerobic exercise includes walking, swimming/ pregnancy aqua, stationary cycling, low impact/modified aerobics etc. In other words choose low impact options that will minimise strain on joints/ligaments/muscles and risk of falling - give your baby a smooth ride and you will give your body a smooth ride.
2. Keep intensity at a moderate level on most occasions because our bodies are working a little bit harder during pregnancy. It is okay to do bursts of higher intensity/vigorous exercise (low impact options), but keep them to less than 3 times/week and to bouts of less than 20 - 25 mins at a time.
3. Choose pelvic floor safe exercise - this is a whole post in itself, so if you want to know more, have a look at this link http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/pages/pelvic-floor-safe-exercises.html
4. Adding some resistance during exercise can be safe & appropriate but avoid high levels of resistance as these can place too much strain on abdominal/pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue.
5. Avoid exercise lying on your back after 20 weeks due to the potential risk of supine hypotension
6. Exercise with lots of impact, one-legged activity, wide stepping etc. can lead to or aggravate pelvic girdle pain, so in general keep your exercise "lady-like" i.e. smaller steps, feet closer together and feet closer to the ground.
7. Your posture and alignment during exercise is important, so aim for good form and technique.
8. Seek advice and/or treatment if you experience pain during exercise.
9. If you experience symptoms such as dizziness, palpitations, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, high blood pressure, excessive swelling esp. of hands/face or any other unusual symptoms then stop exercise and seek advice from your health professional.
10. Thought I'd save this one for last! Learn how to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises (contraction and relaxation) correctly and include them in your daily exercise regime.
There are lots more tips and advice that I could provide but these are just some basic ideas to get you started and give you a framework for choosing exercise options