Exercise

Pregnant woman doing weights for exerciseIf you thought that pregnancy was a good excuse to become a couch potato- think again!

  • Staying flt and active during your pregnancy will help your own health and the health of your baby.

  • Keep active to help your body get ready for giving birth  and looking after a newborn baby.

  • Women gain an average of two stone during pregnancy, so your muscles and posture are going to be asked to  do more work than usual, and you may feel the physical strain of things.

How much exercise should I do?

It Is recommended that you do about 15 to 30 minutes of exercise, three to flve times a week, depending on how much exercise you did before you got pregnant.

Exercise Tips

  • Walk rather that taking the bus for short journeys

  • Climb the stairs Instead of taking the lift

  • Do some housework- vacuuming or washlng-up to some music

  • Take up swimming- exercising In water will support your bump

  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.

  • Try to keep active on a daily basis: half an hour of walking each day can be enough, but if you can't manage that, any amount is better than nothing.

  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids

Stomach Strengthening Exercises

As your bump gets bigger, you may find that the hollow in your lower back increases and this can give you backache, which can be a problem in pregnancy.

 

  • Start in a box position (on all fours) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, with fingers facing forward and abdominals lifted to keep your back straight.

  • Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, curling the trunk and allowing your head to relax gently forward. Don't let your elbows lock.

  • Hold for a few seconds the slowly return to the box position

  • Pregnant woman with exercise ballTake care not to hollow your back: it should always return to a straight/neutral position.

  • Do this slowly and rythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully.

  • Only move your back as far as you can comfortably.

Your Pelvic Floor

  • The pelvic floor is formed of a cradle muscle supporting the uterus, bowel and bladder. Pregnancy and childbirth put pressure on the pelvic floor, and you may find you lose a few drops of urine when you sneeze or cough - this is called 'stress incontinence'.

  • You can tone these muscles so they maintain their strength - and regain it quicker after the birth - by doing regular 'invisible' exercises

  • Pull in and tense your pelvic floor muscles, as if stopping the flow of urine. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Aim to do ten sets of five exercises each day, although don't do them while actually urinating.

What Exercise Should I Avoid When Pregnant?

  • Don't lie flat on your back, particularly after 16 weeks, because the weight of your bump presses on the big blood vessels and can make you feel faint.

  • Don't take part in contact sports where there's a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, judo or squash.

  • Don't take part in horse-riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling, due to the risk of falling.

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