Anxious about exercising during your pregnancy?
Medical experts agree that all healthy pregnant women should aim for 30 minutes exercise on at least five (ideally seven) days a week to enjoy a whole raft of benefits for both mother and baby. And we all know that eating well during pregnancy has got to be good for both of you. But it’s not always easy to know where to start, what you should eat and what to avoid.
We asked pregnancy fitness experts FittaMamma to answer individual questions about pregnancy exercise and well-being.
I haven’t done much exercise in years I’m ashamed to say. I’m 8 weeks pregnant and am still feeling the first trimester yucks but would like to start exercising once I feel up to it. What’s the best exercise to do for someone whose body isn’t used to it? I don’t really know where to start! Thank you!
First and foremost, well done you for adopting a positive attitude towards exercise now you’re pregnant! It’s so important for you AND your baby – and you’ll feel so good about yourself once you get started! Take it easy initially – health experts recommend you aim for 30 minutes exercise every day but build up to these levels gradually, remembering that ANY exercise is better than no exercise at all! Start with 15 minutes and gradually increase as your fitness levels increase.
Walking is easy, free and you’ll benefit from the fresh air too! Keep the pace brisk and swing your arms as you walk. Increase the distance, remembering that however far you go, you’ll need to walk back as well so don’t overdo it initially.
There are some great workouts for pregnant women that you can easily follow at home – they’re trimester specific and a really good way to get you started. Make sure you warm up before you start exercising, cool down afterwards and remember the talk test – you should be able to continue a conversation whilst you exercise!
Good luck and best wishes for your happy, active pregnancy.
I’m 14 weeks pregnant and starting to feel a little human again so wanting to start an exercise regime again. I’ve just lost 3 stone to get pregnant doing Zumba and other high energy classes. Is this still safe to do? If not what can you advise that is safe thanks x
Well done you for shedding those pre-pregnancy pounds! If you’re enjoying your high energy classes there’s no reason to give up as long as you feel comfortable to do so.
Avoid too much impact and twisting, during Zumba try and keep one foot on the floor at all times, go for marching in preference to jumping, stepping instead of leaping and avoid making quick turns that might throw you off balance. For comfort, if you’re regularly enjoying high energy exercise it’s worth investing in supportive maternity fitnesswear to hold your baby bump.
A few things to remember when you’re exercising during pregnancy – it’s even more important to warm up before you start, cool down afterwards and remember the talk test – you should be able to continue a conversation whilst you exercise! Listen to your body – pregnancy exercise should be about maintaining fitness, not improving and if you feel uncomfortable, slow down, ease up or rest.
Make sure you tell your instructor you’re pregnant and if you have any anxieties about your health or your pregnancy then be sure to discuss with your midwife or doctor. There are lots of guidelines about safe pregnancy exercise on www.fittamamma.com or download this free ebook.
Best wishes and enjoy your healthy, active pregnancy!
What’s a safe heart rate to work up to?
It’s difficult to be prescriptive about a safe heart rate as so much depends on your age and your pre-pregnancy fitness levels. The resting heart beat can increase by up to 15bpm during pregnancy – bear in mind that the volume of blood in your body increases by up to 50% when you’re pregnant.
The ‘talk test’ is considered the best indicator of exercise intensity – you should be able to continue to hold a conversation during pregnancy exercise. If you’re exercising so hard you can’t chat, slow down! Pregnancy exercise should be about maintaining fitness, not improving – not so far, not so fast and if you’re continuing with resistance training aim for lighter weights and more repetitions. But provided you still feel comfortable, raising your heart rate and boosting your circulation increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your baby too, improving his or her long term vascular health – well done, for continuing to stay active!
FittaMamma offer find plenty of guidelines about safe pregnancy exercise on or download their free ebook about staying fit
Best wishes and enjoy your healthy, active pregnancy!
I’ve just been diagnosed with GD and I’m so embarrassed and upset. I’m waiting for an appointment with a specialist diabetic midwife and I haven’t been given a huge amount of other information yet but to just cut right down on sugar. I’ve googled and it’s just overwhelming. Do you have any advice on what I can and can’t eat? thanks x
Oh dear, but try not to get too anxious J and I’m sure your diabetic midwife will be able to give you plenty of good advice. We’d recommend that initially you simply aim for a healthy pregnancy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale): you still need energy giving carbohydrates but be aware of the quantities you’re eating and choose wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholegrain pastas, spreading your carbohydrate intake over the day and avoiding too many carbs in the evening. The same pregnancy eating dos and don’ts will apply to you – make sure you include regular protein in your diet, fish (especially oily fish), calcium-rich dairy products and stay hydrated! Avoid uncooked meats and fish, unpasteurised cheeses and milk, commercial pates (which can be a source of listeria) and alcohol.
Cutting back on sugar is a good starting point and if you’re eating fruits with a high sugar content (such as oranges) aim to eat them earlier in the day so you have time for your body to process the sugar. There’s lots of information about healthy eating available at fittamamma.com
Exercise is good for you too – try and aim for 30 minutes on at least five days a week, even if all you can manage is a brisk walk.
Good luck and best wishes for your pregnancy!
Always remember that if you have any anxieties about your health, your pregnancy or your baby make sure you consult your midwife or health professional before you start exercising.
FittaMamma share their guidelines for safe exercise in pregnancy:
Stay active but stay safe!
- Listen to your body – if your workout feels too intense slow down or stop.
- Don’t overdo it – if you’re not used to exercising regularly start with 15-20 minutes a day and build up your strength. Aim for half an hour a day.
- If you exercise regularly don’t stop! Just adapt your workouts as your pregnancy progresses
- Thinking about starting something new? Try swimming, walking or join a pregnancy Pilates or yoga class
- Stay hydrated! Keep a water bottle handy and take regular sips
- Stay cool! Expectant mums can overheat quite easily so exercise outdoors if possible and wear moisture-wicking clothes
- Carry on chatting! Don’t exercise beyond the level where you’re too tired to speak.
- Dress comfortably. Stretchy well-fitting exercise clothes that support your bump and breasts – such as the FittaMamma range – are ideal
- Avoid lying on your front after the first trimester and avoid lying on your back after 12 weeks
- Stay fuelled – don’t exercise on an empty stomach and keep a few energy snacks handy – a banana, dried fruit or nuts are ideal
- Warm up before you start and cool down afterwards
- Check with your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns about exercise and what’s best for you
Best wishes for a healthy, active pregnancy 🙂
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