lifestyle

Women 2Day: Should women exercise during pregnancy?

The benefits from the experts

Women exercising during pregnancy

Out of sheer coincidence, I was recently contacted by a pregnancy activewear company who wanted to highlight the importance of staying active during pregnancy.

As I enter my seventh month of pregnancy, I must admit I probably haven’t done as much exercise as I could have done, due to sheer exhaustion after a full-time job and the fact I am completely lazy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done the odd Pilates DVD and gone on a few walks but I well and truly left my gym membership on the backburner months ago.

So I read the information they sent me with a whisper of trepidation as I didn’t want to be made to feel guilty about what I should and shouldn’t be doing while I’m pregnant.

A pregnant woman exercising

However, it is always interesting to know what is best for your baby, so I gave it a go because I know many women are unsure about how much exercise they can and should do while they are pregnant.

The company, FittaMamma, says it is committed to inspiring mums-to-be that exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but beneficial for the baby.

In fact, it says that maintaining fitness while you’re pregnant helps both physically and psychologically, helping to reduce many common complaints such as tiredness, varicose veins and swollen ankles.

“Pregnancy shouldn’t be an excuse"

Spokeswoman Deborah Hazeldean says: “Pregnancy shouldn’t be an excuse to stop exercising – and in fact there are some very sound reasons why you should keep active in preparation for your baby’s birth.

“Giving birth is a very physical process, no-one would go in for a marathon without any training – increasing your fitness levels can make all the difference when it comes to labour and it will help with your recovery period afterwards as well.

“Most mums who carry on exercising during their pregnancy regain their pre-baby figure much more quickly,” she added.

Deborah says that this evidence is backed by research undertaken by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who recommend that ‘healthy pregnant women should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.

The NHS also recommends daily regular exercise duing pregnancy, although it does say if you weren’t active before you got pregnant, you shouldn’t suddenly start taking up strenuous exercise.

So what are the best exercises to do when you’re pregnant?

According to baby website BabyCentre, brisk walking, swimming, aquanatal classes and cycling on a stationary bike are all good and safe forms of exercise as long as you don’t overdo it. Pregnancy yoga and tpilates are also good for strengthening and toning.

It suggests varying the type of exercise you do, such as combining aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking with strength and conditioning exercises like yoga and pilates for at least 30 minutes every day of the week.

But really, any activity that you can fit into your everyday life, like taking the stairs, walking and doing house work, can be classed as exercise.

And since I pushed the Dyson around for 20 minutes the other day, that makes me feel a whole lot better.

Visit www.fittamamma.com for free exercise information and yoga routines, useful nutritional advice and recipes.

View full mobile page