Best exercise for pregnancy

Pros and cons of exercise and weight-loss during and after pregnancy

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The moment you find out you’re pregnant, chances are you’ll be bombarded with pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales. If all this ‘information’ leaves you feeling confused you’re not alone.

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A new poll has revealed that 39% of women don’t think they can start exercising while pregnant. But as Tommy’s midwife Sharon Broad explains, ‘exercise will help your body get in the best possible shape for labour, but start off slowly. Begin by walking then gradually add in some swimming or an aquanatal class.’

Other myths include the ‘nine months on, nine months off’ rule for pregnancy weight gain. The reality is that some women may take only three months to return to their pre-pregnancy weight, and others a lot longer. Just be sensible – if you ensure you’re eating enough (the Dept of Health recommends no fewer than 1800 calories a day if you’re breastfeeding), but not overeating, and taking plenty of varied exercise, you should lose the weight you’ve gained with relative ease.

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Another exercise myth is the one about yoga being the best form of exercise when you’re pregnant. But unless it’s supervised by someone who is pre- or postnatally trained, yoga can be hazardous. The hormone relaxin, released in pregnancy to loosen your ligaments in preparation for labour, makes your body vulnerable to injury from over-stretching.

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