5 questions you should ask when checking how safe your exercise programme is for pregnant women

Knowing what you can and can’t do when it comes to workouts during pregnancy is a bit of a minefield. Hardly surprising, therefore, that only 15% of women actually meet the levels of physical activity recommended in government guidelines. Many of us are simply too worried we’ll do the wrong thing.

So we stop.

Ask yourself these 5 key questions, answer them honestly and you will be well on the way to feeling confident that your exercise programme is safe for pregnancy.

 

  1. Are my health care professionals happy for me to exercise in pregnancy?

This has to be your first port of call and remember that just because your midwife, consultant or GP was happy for you to exercise when you were 16 weeks into pregnancy does not mean that this will still be the case later on. So if your circumstances change then be sure to keep asking your health care professionals this crucial question.

  1. How do I feel both during and after the exercise I am doing in pregnancy?

If the exercise you are doing makes you rather breathless and hot then you will need to moderate the intensity. Overheating during pregnancy is inadvisable as the foetus cannot regulate its body temperature. If your exercise routine leaves you with aches and pains in the wrong places (I am not talking about achy thighs simply because you have worked them)such as knee joints, pelvis or the abdomen, then you will need to rethink your fitness choices and find another more suitable option. Do you find that your current exercise routine gives you Braxton Hicks contractions either during or after your session? If so, this is most definitely a sign that things needed to be toned down. On the other hand, if your fitness sessions leave you feeling energised and fully of positivity, then you are probably working at the correct level. So listen to your body.

  1. Can my pre-pregnancy exercise be adapted and made safe for pregnancy?

The reality is that whilst some forms of physical activity should be avoided during pregnancy, such as contact and dangerous sports (think martial arts, scuba diving, rock climbing, horse riding, skiing, team sports such as netball etc), others can be successfully adapted by following the ground rules of safe pregnancy exercise:

  • Keep your exercise moderate
  • Do not overheat
  • Listen to your body carefully
  • Do not do resisted exercise for the abdominals after around week 15
  • Do not exercise lying on your back after around week 16
  • Beware of low blood pressure when doing certain exercises
  • Do not force yourself to keep going with your pre-pregnancy fitness if it makes you feel uneasy or anxious
  • Beware of competitive forms of fitness as you are more likely to strain or injure yourself. Remove the competitive element
  • Do not exercise if there are any medical contraindications

If your chosen pre-pregnancy exercise can adhere to these rules then that is a good start.

  1. Am I taking up a completely new form of fitness in pregnancy?

Guidelines for safe exercise in pregnancy indicate that it is inadvisable to take up a new form of fitness in pregnancy, unless it is fitness that is tailored specifically for mums-to-be, such as aqua-natal or pregnancy Pilates. So, for example, if you have been inactive pre-pregnancy but wish to build your fitness now that you are expecting, taking up jogging would not be advisable. Instead, put in place a walking regime.

  1. Is my fitness instructor fully qualified in pregnancy and postnatal fitness and is s/he a member of the Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Instructors?

If you are taking part in fitness classes or working with a personal trainer, the safest option is to choose someone who is fully qualified in this field and who keeps up-to-date by attending regular study days and courses. You can find your nearest pregnancy fitness professional by checking out the Guild’s website. The Guild is the Uk’s only not-for-profit organisation that aims to maintain the highest of standards within the profession.

 

I am the current co-chair of the Guild so if you would like any information just get in touch.

For a safe exercise programme for pregnant women that has been expertly designed for this time in your life and can be done anytime, anywhere, take a look at the beautiful, award winning FitBumpBox

 

 

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