Tips for safe workout
Exercise is important during pregnancy for many reasons - but it is important to know your limits and monitor your work-out to ensure that you achieve the benefits you are seeking. Pregnancy is a time to enjoy focusing on your posture, gentle stretching, toning and relaxing rather than aiming 'to get fit' through rigorous exercise.
Check with your doctor or midwife before starting an exercise program
If you do not have any specific obstetric or medical complications, you can continue to exercise and enjoy its benefits throughout your pregnancy. If you were not active or exercised irregularly before your pregnancy, you should check with your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise programme.
What modifications will I have to make to my existing exercise regime?
You may need to scale back your regular routine to mild to moderate levels during pregnancy. It is recommended exercising at least three times a week for approx. 30 mins each time. Aim to rest in between workouts.
Monitor your heart rate and exertion
While pregnant, you should monitor your heart rate. While there is no set limit to your heart rate, you should avoid excessive breathlessness.
Avoid exercising flat on your back after the first trimester
Besides being uncomfortable, this position can cause dizziness. It places your uterus directly on your vena cava, a major vein returning blood to your heart. Lying in this position can compromise the return of blood flow to your heart and can make you feel nauseas or dizzy. You can lie with some pillows under your back to prop your upper body up or exercise on the side.
Keep hydrated before, during and after exercising
It is recommended drinking two glasses of water 2 hours before exercising. Drink a small cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise and drink two more glasses of water after exercising.
Wear loose fitting, breathable and comfortable clothing
Avoid overheating by wearing layers of clothes that you can strip off. Ensure that you have a pair of supportive trainers to help support the ligaments and tendons of your feet. Plus, make sure you have invested in a well fitted maternity bra.
Don't do crunches or sit ups after the first trimester
Pregnancy is not a time to increase tone in your abdominal muscles. However, it is a great time to maintain the tone that you have achieved in your abdominal muscles before you were pregnant. Therefore, avoid crunches or sit ups after the first trimester and workout using the modified pilates classes on this site.
Warning signs to stop exercises during pregnancy
Become aware of the following signs which ace as warning signs to stop exercising.
Shortness of breath before reaching your normal exertion limit
Difficulty in walking
Painful calves (this may be due to thrombophlebitis or swelling in the veins - must seek urgent attention)
Enjoy your workout!
Now that you are armed with knowledge, you can relax and enjoy your exercise sessions. Exercising with the above recommendations in mind will help to protect against strain and injury, boost your circulation of blood and lymph, keep your muscles toned and increase your own sense of well being.