Prenatal exercise for a healthy, active pregnancy
Once you emerge from first trimester nausea and exhaustion, you may be feeling ready to get back to exercise. Gentle to moderate exercise is usually safe in pregnancy, and can help to improve your muscle tone, strength and endurance, and prepare your body for labour.
The best exercises for pregnancy are low impact, such as gentle stretching, walking, yoga, pilates, swimming and aqua aerobics.
Prenatal exercise includes movements designed for pregnancy, to help build strength, ease aching muscles and improve your posture. As well as the physical benefits, exercise can also help with improving your energy, relieve stress and anxiety and help you sleep better.
Find your local prenatal physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, yoga instructors and more here.
What should I wear to exercise when pregnant?
When you’re pregnant, it can be easy to overheat, so look for light, breathable and stretchy fabrics that will see you through pregnancy to the first few newborn months with ease.
A pair of maternity fitness tights are a great investment because they are made from thicker (non-see through!) fabric that has support in all the right places, without putting pressure on your bump. Match these with a loose fitting, breathable top to keep you cool while you work out. By purchasing maternity activewear comfort is assured because they have been specifically designed to cover a growing baby bump.
A supportive sports nursing bra is a must for everything from walking to exercise classes and will make it that bit easier to get out of the house and make it to those post-natal exercise classes with a newborn. Don’t forget to wear supportive shoes as your foot muscles will relax with pregnancy and are more prone to rolling and injury.
Why is it important to exercise when pregnant?
Exercise is important throughout your life, but especially when you’re pregnant. If you’ve always been active, it can just be a matter of switching to a more low impact exercise to maintain your fitness.
If you’re new to exercise, starting in pregnancy is a great way to start healthy habits, maintain a healthy weight and prepare your body for childbirth (and parenting!).
Not only will you sleep better, it will help regulate your appetite, boost your mood and may even prevent conditions like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and swelling/fluid retention.
If you need help getting started, a pre-natal exercise class such as aqua aerobics, prenatal yoga and pilates are a great way to exercise, have fun and meet other expectant mums.