The thing about pregnancy is that it does make you tired. Your hormones are all over the place, your blood sugar and your blood pressure are lower than usual whilst your body is busy creating the environment your baby needs to grow.
So, it’s not surprising that all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa or sleep more often than normal and while it’s good to recharge your batteries when you can, it isn’t a good idea to become a complete couch potato.
Exercise during pregnancy is very important. It will help to keep you healthy and it’s good for baby. Studies have shown that women who do some exercise during pregnancy have a lower incidence of having their baby past its due date, which means you’re less likely to have to have an induction. It is also said to increase the size of the placenta, which is providing nourishment to your baby and he or she will cope better in labour, which is all good news.
There are plenty of exercises you can do and few you can’t, for example, contact sports and scuba diving should be avoided.
Strengthening exercises are very good for you, especially those that make your stomach muscles stronger and help your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor will mean you won’t suffer from the escape of urine (stress incontinence) once you’ve had the baby, after you cough or sneeze. Pelvic floor squeezes are easy to do, just pretend that you are stopping yourself from peeing by pulling in your vagina. You do these exercises anywhere you remember to do them, even on the bus!
Have a look at this You Tube exercise video which will give you some idea of stomach exercises which are safe to do. As you get bigger you might like to change to an all fours position which will be more comfortable.
Walking is one of the best exercises you can do whilst pregnant. It’s free, you can do it anytime and it’s a great excuse to get outdoors for a while. It’s also a great way to start to exercise if you’ve never done any before.
Beginners can start with 15 minutes a day, 3 or 4 days a week and gradually build up to half an hour for 5 or 6 days a week. If you are already fairly fit, you can start by walking for 20 to 30 minutes for four days a week and build up to 50 minutes or an hour for 6 days.
Walking will tone up your muscles, improve your heart rate and keep you fit. It will also help you to keep your weight down and you should cope better with labour.
The endorphins produced from exercise will improve your mood and you should feel more relaxed as you get into a routine, so try and put aside some time each day to get moving and you’ll soon feel the benefit.
Other good exercises
Swimming is great as the water will help support the extra baby weight. It will also help if you have backache and/or swollen ankles and its perfect for toning up your muscles, as well as helping circulation.
Aerobics is good if you like to exercise as part of a group, have a look for a local aerobics class especially for pregnant women. Aerobics gives your heart a good workout and improves muscle tone. You can also join a dance group as long you avoid any twists or jumps.