Exercising While Pregnant – What should I do and not do?

By Leanne, Spartans in-house Exercise Physiologist

Pregnancy is an incredible time that can leave a woman feeling many different emotions- anxious, excited, exhilarated just to name a few.
There is a number of changes a women’s body goes through to allow for the pregnancy to occur. Some of these changes are:

  • Hormonal changes such as an increase in oestrogen, progesterone and relaxing (which can increase the laxity of joints).
  • Cardiovascular changes including an increase in blood volume, increase in resting heart rate (up to 15-20 bpm) and a decrease in blood pressure.
  • Respiratory changes such as increased ventilation, decreased endurance and feeling breathlessness
  • Metabolic changes including an increase in fat stores and changes to insulin sensitivity (linked to gestational diabetes!)
  • Musculoskeletal changes involving an increase in breast size, increase uterus size, increase kyphosis

With all these changes it can be scary to know where to start with exercise and there are many people out there with an opinion and information that can be quite contraindicating and confusing.  Everyone’s pregnancy is a little bit different. However, in healthy pregnancy without complications there is no reason that you can’t exercise or that exercise would be detrimental to mum or bub! In fact, in a healthy pregnancy, exercise is actually recommended and proven to have a number of benefits.
Some of the benefits to mum include:

  • Potential to have an easier and smoother birth. For example- less likely to have a caesarean or instrumental delivery such as using forceps
  • Less likely to develop gestational diabetes
  • Less back and pelvic pain
  • Reduced likelihood of having pre-eclampsia or hypertension
  • Decreased weight gain and weight retention post-partum
  • Improved mental health and reduced changes of postnatal depression
  • Better overall health, strength and endurance (all very important once you have a baby to care for!)
  • Likely to bounce back faster after delivery!

The likely benefits for the baby:

  • Reduced risk of obstetrical complications
  • Baby is less likely to develop type 2 diabetes during its lifetime
  • Baby will be less likely to have a high birth weight and less likely to develop obesity later in life
  • A less complicated delivery means lower chances of injury during birth (for both mum and baby)
  • Lower risk of premature birth and related complications

 

It is important to exercise in a properly managed environment to avoid injury and with all the overwhelming information out there it’s good to speak to an expert.

Chat to me Leanne an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to ensure the best outcome for Mum and bub!