Lets take a look at why pregnant women need to exercise.
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Maintaining a level of fitness throughout the pregnancy so as to better cope with the needs of a new baby and to assist with the labour which is a physically demanding experience. A fit and strong mum to be can endure the labour more easily.
Improvement of Muscular Tone and Strength
As we all know hormone changes affect women at all stages of life but also during pregnancy. Particularly hormones affect muscular strength and tone which means saggy bums and legs ladies! Those squats, lunges and specific exercises can help to maintain tone in those trouble areas. Strengthening these areas also assist to protect joints due to excessive elasticity in the muscles, ligaments and tendons during pregnancy hormonal fluctuations which can lead to injury.
Stress Reduction, Improvement of Well-being and Self Esteem
Fitness is a good way to take a break from the stresses of life. During exercise you will be focussed on the exercises you are doing, having a little chat to your trainer who loves to listen, and your happy hormones are released! Feeling better about yourself is important as your body is changing is so important and strengthening up those areas that are becoming a little more ‘floppy’ and keeping your weight under control is all part of your workout.
Weight and Nausea Control
Some women report that a work out reduces their nausea symptoms, even as hard as it may be to exercise, they believe that exercise makes them feel better. By being more active will help to keep your weight gain to a minimum and all ‘baby’. Regular work outs will also give you some time to chat to your trainer about healthy choices, to help you resist any cravings for unhealthy foods that are not good for your baby, your skin or your weight control.
Reducing Back Pain and Improving Posture
Specific exercises and stretches will assist with maintaining good posture throughout your pregnancy and reducing back pain. Stretching regularly will help to reduce back pain so the addition of pregnancy yoga or pilates can also be very beneficial.
Promotion of Good Sleeping Patterns and Reducing Fatigue
Participating in regular fitness is very good in general lifestyles for promoting a better sleep pattern and reducing fatigue. However, in pregnancy this is especially true when there are many more factors leading to your fatigue such as carrying extra baby weight, hormones, worry, etc.
Prevention/Reduction of Fluid Retention and other Nasties
Regular exercise will also improve your circulation, will assist in preventing and reducing fluid retention, varicose veins and the dreaded haemorrhoids and constipation. All very good and essential reasons to exercise during your pregnancy.
Returning to Exercise Postnatally
When your bundle is home and you are settled, a quick return to exercise is easier if you exercised during your pregnancy. After the birth, a regular exercise programme will help to heal a traumatised uterine, abdominal and pelvic muscles and your muscle tone will return more speedily. Those muscles, ligaments and tendons that have been weakened by hormones need to return to normal to prevent any injury to joints.
But one of the most important parts of postnatal exercise is the management of coping mechanisms of having a new life, exercising regularly is a large part of keeping post partum blues at bay. Remember you can always bring your baby to your workout and trainers will adjust the workout to how you are feeling on the day so you can still exercise. We understand the needs of new mums and will accommodate those.
There are always general and specific risks associated with pregnancy and you do need to consult with your doctor and a qualified personal trainer with specific knowledge in training for pregnancy prior to commencing an exercise programme.
Angie Hazell is an experienced personal trainer and looks after mum to be, new mums and women’s fitness in Perth, North Perth, Mt Lawley, Mt Hawthorn, Joondanna, Subiaco and surrounding suburbs. We offer a new mum programme and a free ‘try out’ session. Contact Us for more details.