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14
05
2017

Exercise during pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing time for any women but it does mean there are going to be some big changes to your body and your exercise routine.

Most exercises are not dangerous for your baby. There is actually evidence that women who are physically active experience fewer problems in later pregnancy and during labour! Obviously, some exercises should be avoided for safety reasons, therefore, it is important that you seek advice from trained healthcare professionals prior to exercising.

During the progression of pregnancy as your baby grows you may find you stand differently. The most common stance we tend to hold includes a very lordotic lumbar spine which means the hollow at the bottom of your back increases. Unfortunately, this strains your back muscles which is why many females suffer from lower back pains and aches during pregnancy.Pilates exercises with sports therapistOther common problems experienced during pregnancy includes pelvic floor pain and weakness. The excess weight and pressure your baby places on your pelvic girdle can stress your joints, ligaments and muscles. During pregnancy, the ligaments around your pelvis become relaxed to prepare for labour. This means your muscles have to work extra hard to stabilise your pelvis and also the weight of your baby.

Thankfully I have some tips to help reduce pain and strengthen your muscles. There are many forms of exercise you can undertake during pregnancy such as pilates, pelvic floor and aerobic exercises.

Pilates exercises

Pilates exercises are great during pregnancy! Pilates focuses on improving core muscular strength which is great for helping to support the weight of your baby and protect your spine while also improving your posture. Some of my favourite pilates exercises for pregnant ladies includes;

  • Standing pelvic tilts – while in a safe standing position your fierce fit instructor will assist you to perform pelvic tilts against a wall which can both help to strengthen your core muscles and also improve joint awareness and posture.
  • Angry cat exercise – this exercise is great when performed correctly. It is slightly more advanced than the above exercise but don’t worry we are here to help. A member of our team will help to align you into the correct position and give you guidance on how to move your pelvis through the range and contract your deep core muscles.

Starting position of angry cat exercisePelvic floor exercises

Your pelvic floor acts as a sling running from the base of your spine, through your legs to your pubic bone. Your pelvic floor muscles help to support the bladder, bowel and uterus. Weakness in these muscles can cause urinary incontinence during pregnancy.Strengthening your pelvic floor will not only help to reduce any incontinence but also help during the labour process.  

Pelvic floor exercises may feel strange if you have never performed them before! Our trainers are happy to help guide you through how to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles and give you advice on sets and reps.

Aerobic exercises

Performing light aerobic exercises during pregnancy is a great way to keep fit and healthy. Aerobic exercise includes activities where you raise your heart rate and you become slightly breathless. Improving or maintaining your fitness levels can be extremely beneficial not only during pregnancy but afterwards. Following pregnancy, I’m sure you will be keen to get back in shape. This is a much easier process if you maintain your level of fitness throughout pregnancy. Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, cycling on a stationary bike and swimming are great.Pregnancy exercisesThe benefits of exercise during pregnancy:

There are many benefits of exercising during pregnancy! Not only will exercising help keep you healthy and strong but also help improve mood and reduce stress. While exercising your body is stimulated to release endorphins which are our feel-good hormones which can help you feel a reduction in stress, anxiety and overall make you feel happy and content!  The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are vast but include;

  • Stay fit
  • Keep healthy
  • Feel good
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced the risk of low back pain
  • Reduced feelings of fatigue
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased muscular strength and endurance
  • Reduced risk of incontinence
  • Improved mood

If you feel anxious, stress or even just a bit confused about what exercises you can perform while pregnant our instructors are more than happy to talk and guide you through a safe exercise routine. Our trainers have experience working with pregnant ladies in various trimesters and are able to adapt exercises to meet your needs and help you get the most out of exercising during pregnancy.

 

author: Louise Rigby

Louise Rigby graduated with a Sports Therapy (BSc) Hons degree in 2015 from the University of Central Lancashire. Alongside her degree she has attained a VTCT level 4 certificate in sports massage therapy and holds a Level 2 emergency aid and trauma management qualification. She is a member of the Society of Sports therapy and takes part in regular CPD. Through her time at university Louise gained experience in the assessment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with sports teams such as the Rochdale hornets and the Fijian rugby league team. Louise has always had a keen interest in sport and exercise and has performed competitively in gymnastics, cheerleading, dancing and volleyball. In her spare time Louise enjoys going to the gym and socialising with friends. She is a passionate and enthusiastic individual which can be observed when meeting and treating her massage patients!

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