Pregnancy exercise tips

Mums give their advice on the best ways to work out with a bump

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Wallowing’s wicked!

“I did both aqua bump – an antenatal aqua aerobics where we generally wallowed like hippos! – and active- birth yoga classes. Swimming was a great way to work out without over-stressing my body, and yoga was a peaceful time to connect with my baby and relax. Both were great for meeting other local mums-to-be.”

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Jennie Hattan, 30, mum to Theo, 8 months

Walk this way

“I walked a lot during my pregnancy. As I was in the habit, I kept it up when my baby was born and managed to lose my baby weight without really trying. I actually found it a lot easier to take her out in the pram than carting her in and out of the car.”

Carol Jarman, 33, mum to Faith, 14 months

Fit for anything

“I’m a fitness instructor, so giving up exercise when I was pregnant was definitely not an option for me.”

Jo Martin, 32, mum to Jordan, 5 months

Easy does it

“Lack of energy has meant I don’t feel like doing my usual gym classes, but I’ve tried to keep as active as I can day-to-day. At work, I go for a walk at lunchtime, and I don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to use the lift.”

Rachael, 26 weeks pregnant

Feel like dancing?

“I did ballet classes until I was 6 months pregnant with my first son – the bump looked a bit big in the ballet skirt! By the way, he’s a good dancer!”

Amanda Wickenden, 39, mum to Julian, 5, and Sebastian, 6 weeks

And, breathe…

“I’d never done yoga before but had heard it was good. The teacher advised me to wait until 12 weeks to start, which I did. I’d definitely recommend it. As for it making my labour easier, I live in hope!”

Yummymummy, PP Café

Après-ski mum

“I found out I was pregnant after doing a ski season in France – I was snowboarding while 6 weeks pregnant. I returned home to be told I shouldn’t be jiggling around too much. When I later tried to join a gym, they weren’t keen because I hadn’t been a member before. But in the end they let me join, as they had a specialist instructor.”

Lydia, 33, baby due on 15 December

Try cheap and cheerful

“I stopped going to a very pricey gym halfway through my pregnancy, as there was so much I couldn’t do, even in Pilates. I found the weekly antenatal exercise class at the local hospital useful. It was cheap and I didn’t feel self-conscious. Plus, I knew it was totally safe for mums-to-be.”

Amy Lubarda, 37, mum to Theo, 7 months

Express delivery?

“If you continue to perform regular weight-bearing exercise throughout your pregnancy, this may have positive effects on your labour and delivery. It’s also been suggested that pregnant women who exercise at least three times a week (for a minimum of 20 minutes) have significantly shorter labours than non-exercising women.’

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Cherry Baker, mum of three, exercise teacher for more than 20 years, and author of Pregnancy and Fitness (A&C Black, £14.99)

Our expert says…

According to PP’s resident midwife, Anne Richley, “If you’re used to exercising, there’s no need to stop. As pregnancy hormones can loosen joints and ligaments, it’s common to acquire various strain injuries, so many women avoid high-impact sport. Opt for gentle – not vigorous – aerobics, or jogging on grass instead of the pavement. If you do exercise classes, tell the instructor you’re pregnant, as there may be moves that need to be adapted for you. Take a bottle of water so you don’t overheat. If you’re not used to exercise, now isn’t the time to start training for the Olympics, but it is beneficial to go swimming, walking, or do a pregnancy yoga class. Cycling’s fine, too, though your bump might unbalanceyou a bit as you get bigger!”

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