If you’re physically able to then exercising during your pregnancy can have huge benefits. It keeps your fitness up, can help with postpartum recovery and makes you feel better thanks to those wonderful endorphins. Incredibly, there are also studies which show it can be beneficial for your baby well into the later years of their life! For me, gentle exercise during both pregnancies has also allowed me to retain a sense of normality and control over my ever-changing body.
It’s important that you don’t overdo it too much; now isn’t the time to be starting a strenuous new exercise regime! The chances are you can continue your existing one though, potentially with a few adjustments. If you’re in any doubt then consult with your midwife or healthcare professional who’ll be able to make a judgement based upon your individual circumstances. However, in general, gentle exercises are encouraged and here are some of my favourites you can start in early pregnancy;
One of the best exercises to do throughout your pregnancy, swimming is a great all over workout for both the cardio vascular system and toning. If you’ve got swimsuits already you should find these will see you through the majority of your pregnancy although you may need to switch to a maternity version during the last few months. Don’t worry though, swimming is also the perfect exercise for your postpartum body so you’ll be back in the pool in no time!
One of the most accessible ways to work out, walking will get your blood pumping without putting to much impact through your joints. Try turning your walks into a social event to make exercising fun, whether it’s with your family, with your partner or with friends. If you’re struggling to find time to fit exercise into your day, especially during the winter, there are even YouTube videos that you can ‘walk’ along with in the comfort of your own home! The NHS recommends 150 minutes of walking each week during pregnancy for it to be an effective form of exercise so grab your trainers and get outside!
Whilst pregnancy isn’t the time to take up running, if you run already then a gentle jog shouldn’t pose any issues during early pregnancy. It is higher impact than walking so be sure to warm up and cool down properly and invest in a pair of trainers that will offer you plenty of support. Listen to your body and stay within a comfortable range of exertion.
A popular pregnancy workout, yoga gives a multitude of benefits during early pregnancy and beyond. Aside from the stretching and toning of muscles, you’ll help to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong (important in many ways during pregnancy!), practice relaxation and learn breathing techniques that can be incredibly useful during labour. Some centres offer specialised pregnancy yoga classes but if not, talk to the teacher first about which moves are and aren’t suitable for you. Finally, there are a wealth of online videos for yoga workouts, meaning you can fit it into your daily routine.
Whether it’s a dance party in your kitchen or an organised class; dancing will help you feel good and get that heart pumping! If you fancy working out with others, find a local Zumba class that you can go to. You’ll get the enjoyment of learning new routines and the ability to go at your own speed whilst working out. It’s probably the most fun form of exercise there is. Let’s face it, with a little one on board, your dance floor days may be on pause for a while but you can still get your groove on!