Regular exercise during pregnancy is an excellent way to maintain a healthy body and positive mind. It’s also proven that women who exercise during pregnancy are less likely to suffer from pregnancy related conditions like gestational diabetes and hypertension. Keeping a socially active calendar through group fitness classes may also help prevent postpartum depression and anxiety.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRANZCOG) recommend up to 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This is also encouraged by the Australian Physical Activity Guideline. Exercise sessions are best split into four 35 minute sessions per week.
Activity and exertion levels will start to change the further along you become. You may find there were some activities that you were able to complete in your first trimester that you have difficulty performing in your third trimester (running, for example). Contact sports and laying on your spine and high intensity training (HIT) should also be avoided to prevent the risks of placental abruption, a knock to the stomach, abrupt change in stance and elevated body temperature. It is important to know your stamina, and know that pregnancy is not the time to test that! Remember – keep the exercise to a moderate level (a training programme where you aren’t breathless while chatting during the routine).
Modifying your exercise to lay on your side or standing is a safe alternative. Gentle yoga and upper limb work-outs using body weight, or lighter dumbells are considerable for strength training and a stronger pelvic floor.
Before commencing any exercise program in pregnancy, always speak to your doctor or midwife to make sure you do not have any health issues that may prevent you from participating in regular activities during your pregnancy.