Becoming pregnant doesn’t have to mean the end of the exercise you enjoy. Likewise, pregnancy doesn’t have to mean being tired or uncomfortable all the time.
Pregnancy is a great time to strengthen and condition your body in preparation for the birth and care of your baby.
Exercising while you are pregnant is safe and its benefits can include:
- better posture;
- prevention or relief of low back pain;
- stronger muscles in preparation for labour;
- promotion of good circulation;
- maintenance of aerobic endurance;
- increased energy and decreased fatigue;
- positive self image and well being;
- decreased muscle tension; and
- general relaxation and wellness.
It is recommended that if you didn’t exercise on a regular basis before you became pregnant it is best to wait until after the first trimester.
However, general walking is a fantastic way to keep active without stressing the baby – but with the high temperatures in Cayman you must be cautious of not increasing your body temperature too high.
Walking in an air conditioned place or in the pool is a great way to ensure you stay active and cool. And remember – keeping hydrated is important so drink plenty of water!
You should always gain your doctor’s approval before starting any type of exercise program while pregnant. Other things to remember when starting a pre-natal exercise program include avoiding rigorous bouncing, watch that you don’t over-stretch your muscles and as you become further along, you will have to adjust and modify exercises to compensate for your changing body.
During pregnancy, the body experiences dramatic physiological changes that require a carefully designed exercise program. For example, ligaments become more relaxed to prepare the body for labour. This is not a permanent change but it is recommended to keep the muscles strong to help support the joints during this temporary change.
Core stability and pelvic floor strengthening is also very important, as is developing awareness of your posture and body mechanics.
Learning relaxation and breathing techniques is also important to help you prepare for delivery.
So don’t be afraid to get moving while you are pregnant – your body and baby will thank you!
Deanna Smith is an exercise physiologist who teaches pre and post natal fitness classes at RVC Rehab Services at CTMH. You can contact her at: [email protected]