Exercise in pregnancy is not a black and white issue. It is about balancing your personal situation with general guidelines, until you find what is right for you.
Your age, whether you exercised before pregnancy and to what level, determine what is ‘normal’ and safe for your body and baby. A 4km run may feel like a marathon to someone who hasn’t exercised since school, but is a cruise in the park to a state level athlete. So, what is ‘normal’ differs between individuals. This means that what is safe can differ too.
As a general rule, the more active you were before pregnancy, the more active you can be safely during pregnancy.
Many of the activities you did before can be continued during pregnancy, just with a few modifications. This is where a specialist trainer is particularly helpful. They can look at the exercise you enjoy and advise you on what is safe for pregnancy – and what is safe for you individually as a mum to be.
Every stage of pregnancy can be different – as can every day and you need to be ready to work with what your body feels at each stage – and on each day.
A growth spurt by your bub may slow you down for a couple of days. Then you feel you can go back to your usual routine. A pubis symphosis dysfunction, which is an early separation of the pubis bone ready for birth and causes inflamed cartilage, means a rethink of your exercise routine for the duration of your pregnancy. But it does not mean you have to stop everything.
There are very few conditions that mean you will have to give up all activity.
But, you do need to be prepared to adjust to what is happening with your body and baby and seek professional advice on how to continue exercising safely. Often it is not about the baby’s safety, but about keeping mum well and uninjured.
On the psychological side, if it has been a long road to get a successful pregnancy you especially don’t want to feel like you are doing anything risky. You may know intellectually that something is safe, but emotionally your heart may just need to via towards conservatism. Even if your doctor and your pregnancy exercise instructor tell you something is absolutely safe for you and bub. If you can’t trust in those words and will be worrying and stressing, it is better to exercise at an even more gentle level that you feel comfortable with.
The most important thing is that you do keep lightly active and don’t give up altogether out of fear. Because generally speaking exercise is good for mum and growing baby.