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Exercise During Pregnancy

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We recently found out the fantastic news that we are expecting baby #2! Even though I have been through pregnancy already, I feel like I need a refresher course! And just when I had got used to eating my favourite camembert cheese, sashimi and the occasional glass of wine, I now once again need to be conscious of what I am eating. Not just food wise, I also want to maintain my exercise regime but I am just so darn exhausted these days and I now need to consider what level of exercise is safe during pregnancy? I had to start my research all over again and so I figured this time I am going to record my findings.

Now the following information has been sources from the internet and I am by no means a health professional giving advice here. This is purely a summary run down of what I have ‘googled’. It is always strongly recommended to seek the advice of your doctor, physiotherapist or health professional before starting a new exercise program as every pregnancy is different.

Types of exercise during pregnancy:

Generally, the health websites tend to suggest gentle, moderate types of exercise can be beneficial during pregnancy. Suggested exercise includes: 

  • Walking
  • Swimming and exercise in water such as aquarobics
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Dancing
  • Pilates
  • Pregnancy exercise classes

Are you part of a Mother’s Group? You could start a pram-walking group in your local area. Pick a nice place like a pathway close to the beach, where you can meet and stroll along together. End the walk at a nice local café.

Yoga, pilates, dancing etc are particularly good for focusing on the pelvic floor muscles. This is one area I did not give enough attention to during my first pregnancy and I definitely underestimated the effects of pregnancy and birth on the pelvic floor. I cannot emphasise the importance of pelvic floor exercises enough!

It also depends on what your level of activity was prior to the pregnancy. If you are someone who jogs daily, then in moderation it is seen to be safe to continue to do so.

Caution during exercise when pregnant:

There are key things you want to avoid during exercise while pregnant:

  • You don’t want to raise your body temperature too high and avoid exercise to the point of excess sweating. Reduce the intensity or avoid exercise on hot and humid days.
  • You know your body and it’s limits. Don’t over-exert yourself. It’s not a body building competition! If you feel tired, don’t push yourself. There is always tomorrow.
  • We are always told to avoid lifting heavy weight during pregnancy. Use common sense and if you decide to continue with weight training, use low weights.
  • The Vic Better Health website suggests “always work at less than 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate.”
  • Always have plenty of water with you.

Resources on exercising while pregnant:

Here is a list of websites I found to be really informative on exercise during pregnancy as well as classes that are available around Sydney:

Sutherland Shire Leisure Centre has some great information on pregnancy and exercise and also runs various programs such as aquarobics, yoga, body balance etc. 

Sydney Aquanatal classes – combined water fitness and birth preparation classes, run by qualified midwifes and health professionals.

I attended yoga classes during my first pregnancy and I am sure it helped me during labour. It is easy to google your local yoga centre and find out if they run pre-natal classes. I have also been recommended Body Awakenings at Gymea.

The Victoria Better Health website always has great information on lots of health topics:

Pregnancy and exercise

Pelvic floor

Postnatal exercise (sample work out)