Exercise in pregnancy – how to stay safe

Exercise in pregnancy is good for you and your labour, but there are things you need to be aware of.

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You don’t have to be a gym bunny, but many forms of exercise during pregnancy promote a healthy pregnancy, and help you deal with the some of the strains of your changing body.

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Exercise in pregnancy also prepares your body for labour and birth. It can help you get back into shape afterward birth, too.

If you haven’t done much exercise before pregnancy, you’ll have to start slowly.

But what if you’ve long been a fitness freak or sports fanatic? Does pregnancy mean that you have to give up your running, cycling, weight training or stop going to the gym?

You don’t have to give up your exercise.

Outside the sports and exercises it’s recommended you avoid, how you exercise can change gradually as your pregnancy develops and according to your personal levels of fitness, experience and general health.

If you have complications in your pregnancy, your doctor may advise you to avoid certain forms of exercise that would otherwise have been considered safe, and you need to talk to your doctor about your exercise regime.

Tips to remember when exercising

  • Avoid exercising at very high altitude
  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid conditions. If it’s a very hot day then exercise in the morning or evening when it’s cooler
  • Don’t overdo it. Know your limits and keep within them. If your heart is racing or you feel hot then lessen the intensity
  • If you feel short of breath, take a break or stop
  • If you feel dizzy then stop immediately
  • Keep hydrated. You need to take on plenty of water before, during and after exercise. If you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated

    Mum’s story

    “I danced through pregnancy!”

    “Work became harder and harder as I got bigger, but I have to admit that I continued to jump and skip and swing at tea dances until the last five weeks of my pregnancy! I preferred doing something which kept me active but didn’t just focus on working out in front of a mirror at the gym.”

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    Charlotte, 31, mum to Julianne, 3 months

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